The most commonly asked questions about the World Cup

The biggest sporting event, and the most-watched television event of the year, is only a few weeks away as fans await with great excitement for the 2018 FIFA World Cup to begin.

Sportsbook Betfair have compiled the most-searched questions ahead of the World Cup:  queries about dates and future tournaments are prominent but there are a few questions that may surprise you.

Prior to the tournament starting, the most commonly asked World Cup questions are as follows:

When is the World Cup?

The number one question that users have been asking over the past year is when the World Cup takes place.  The simple answer is 2018.  Or to be more specific, the opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia takes place on Thursday, 14th June, with the final taking place at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Sunday, 15th July.  The latest odds on the World Cup group stage have Russia as the comfortable favourites to win the tournament’s opening game.

When is the next World Cup?

The 2018 edition hasn’t even taken place yet and people are already wanting to know when the next World Cup is.  Unless they didn’t realise the next tournament takes place this year!  After Russia 2018 will be the 2022 World Cup which is being held in Qatar.

When does the World Cup start?

With the tournament rapidly approaching fans want to know then the big day is, when the 2018 World Cup starts.  It’s been tradition since the 2006 tournament that the hosts kick off the tournament and this year’s tournament is no different as Russia will face Saudi Arabia on Thursday, 14th June at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

How often is the World Cup held?

The first question not specifically aimed at this summer’s tournament.  There has been a four-year gap between every World Cup since its first two tournaments in 1930 and 1934, with the exception of the planned 1942 and 1946 competitions which were cancelled due to World War II.  The tournament resumed in 1950 in Brazil.  West Germany were actually banned from participating that year but when they returned four years later they won the whole thing for the first time.

Where is the World Cup 2018?

Search data shows that many people knew a World Cup was taking place in 2018 but they didn’t know which country was hosting it.  Well, Russia controversially won the rights to host this summer’s tournament on 2nd December, 2010.

When was the last World Cup?

Perhaps this has been asked by people who have only got into football over the past couple of years, but some have searched when the last tournament took place.  Brazil hosted the last World Cup in 2014 between June and July.  It was the first time the World Cup had been staged in South America since Argentina were the hosts in 1978.  It was also the second time that Brazil had hosted a World Cup following the 1950 tournament.  Mexico, Italy, France and Germany have all hosted a World Cup on two separate occasions.

When did England win the World Cup?

Anyone searching this term must not be English or living in England.  Who doesn’t know that England won the World Cup in 1966 on home soil?  It’s something that the media like to bombard us with, perhaps as it’s the only major international football tournament that England have ever won…

Where is the next World Cup?

The next World Cup takes place in 2022 and, against tradition of announcing the hosts eight years in advanced, Qatar won the rights to host the competition on 2nd December, 2010.  Again, this sparked a lot of controversy, particularly with reports that people in the country were celebrating their victory before it was even announced!  Qatar 2022 will be the second World Cup in Asia after South Korea/Japan 2002.

Who won the last World Cup?

Those who were too young to remember the 2014 World Cup or simply weren’t football fans at the time have been looking at the current holders of the most popular sporting event in the world.  Joachim Löw’s Germany won the competition with a 1-0 extra-time victory over Argentina.  It was the fourth occasion they have done so – only one less than record holders  Brazil, who they humiliated 7-1 on home soil in the semi-finals.

Germany are the current favourites to win this year’s World Cup too and are very popular among the World Cup betting tips.

Who has qualified for the World Cup?

The 2018 World Cup will be the penultimate tournament having 32 nations participating as FIFA have announced that they will be expanding the number of teams to 48 in 2026.  France 98 was the first time that 32 nations qualified – up from 24 at USA 94.  The 32 teams who have qualified for the 2018 World Cup are as follows:

Argentina
Australia
Belgium
Brazil
Colombia
Costa Rica
Croatia
Denmark
Egypt
England
France
Germany
Iceland
Iran
Japan
Mexico
Morocco
Nigeria
Panama
Peru
Poland
Portugal
Russia
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Serbia
South Korea
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Tunisia
Uruguay

Predicting the 2017-18 Premier League Team of the Season

With the 2017-18 Premier League season drawing to a close and with Manchester City all-but confirmed as the champions, the Team of the Season is set to be announced.

The Citizens were actually the pre-season favourites to win the title according to Paddy Power football bets and are set to live up to expectations as they hold a 16-point lead over Manchester United with seven games to go.

Whilst Pep Guardiola’s side have dominated the division there are players from outside the top club that will be make the FA’s team of top 11 players this season.

Here are the eleven players we believe deserve a place in the Premier League Team of the Season:

David de Gea

The Manchester United goalkeeper currently leads the race for the Golden Gloves award having kept 16 clean sheets so far this season.  David de Gea has been a huge factor in a number of points Jose Mourinho’s side have collected with a number of stunning and important saves.

Kyle Walker

Manchester City have dominated possession in all of their games this season as they are racing away with the Premier League title.  This has allowed big summer signing Kyle Walker to bomb forward with ease and he’s done it to good effect with six assists from right-back.

James Tarkowski

Many had Burnley down as relegation contender’s pre-season, yet here we are in April with the Lancashire side pushing for European football next season.  They have one of the best defensive records in the division thanks to the likes of Nick Pope and Ben Mee, but we’re selecting James Tarkowski to our squad having earned his first England cap of late.

Jan Vertonghen

Tottenham Hotspur have done an excellent job in pushing for Champions League football next season.  And despite a long-term injury to key centre-back Toby Alderweireld they still have an excellent defensive record.  Jan Vertonghen has been a rock at the back for the North London club once again this campaign and rightfully gets called into our team.

Ashley Young

José Mourinho had plenty of options at left-back to start the season but ended up fixated on Ashley Young.  The 32-year-old has largely been solid there with the occasional dip in performance.  He’s also bombed forward to provide some excellent crosses on his right foot.  The Manchester United man narrowly gets the nod ahead of Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso.

Mousa Dembélé

Mousa Dembélé has dominated numerous games in the heart of Tottenham’s midfield this season, helping Mauricio Pochettino’s side reach the Champions League knockout stages and put themselves in position for qualifying for the competition again next season.  The Belgian midfielder got the nod over Fernandinho in our team.

Kevin De Bruyne

Despite a couple of quiet games towards the end of the season Kevin De Bruyne has been phenomenal in the Manchester City midfield this campaign.  The Belgian playmaker currently leads the Premier League with 15 assists and has been a key part of the club’s success this season.

David Silva

Manchester City’s midfield has dominated the Premier League this season in terms of possession and creativity so don’t be surprised to see two of their stars make our Team of the Season.  David Silva has had a couple of quiet games against the top teams but otherwise has torn defences apart with his immaculate passing ability.

Mohamed Salah

Our choice for the PFA Player of the Season, Mohamed Salah has shown Chelsea that they were wrong to sell the Egyptian after giving him little opportunity.  Salah has come back to the Premier League and has really been the difference between Liverpool getting as far as they have in the Champions League and as high as they are in the table.  On course for the Premier League Golden Boot with 29 goals.

Sergio Agüero

It was a close one between Sergio Agüero and Harry Kane to be our starting striker but we give the nod to the Argentine who’s close to averaging a goal a game in a team that has several goalscorers on it.  City don’t always look as potent when Agüero isn’t playing.

Christian Eriksen

One of the stars this season has been Christian Eriksen out on the left wing for Tottenham in their 4-2-3-1 formation.  The Dane is providing goals or assists almost every match and has been vital to the team performing as well as they have.

Biggest sponsorships (infographic)

Football teams have such a large following and as a result, has led to the sport becoming the biggest in the world. With teams such as Manchester United, Chelsea and Barcelona having such large brands and passionate fans, businesses have been getting involved in the sport to get more exposure. Even sports odds bookmakers run multiple adverts and promotions to get more people involved.

 

At the highest level, these sponsorships tend to be multi-million pound contracts and they tend to bring in the majority of a clubs revenue. The £750 million 10 year deal between Manchester United and Adidas was the largest kit deal at the time. Despite the huge cost, the deal works for both club and sponsor – Adidas will advertised every time the team is playing for the next 10 years. Meanwhile, Manchester United will receive the money and use it how they please.

 

RUMOURS: Mourinho on England manager shortlist

The Portuguese could be offered the job if his reported move to Manchester United fails to materialise, with Roy Hodgson’s future with the Three Lions on the line at Euro 2016


The Football Association have placed Jose Mourinho on their shortlist of options to become England manager, according to The Sun.

Roy Hodgson will not be offered a new contract if the Three Lions struggle at Euro 2016, meaning a new man will be needed to take charge ahead of World Cup qualifying.

Gary Neville was thought to be first-choice, but the FA hierarchy are concerned by Valencia’s poor form since the former Manchester United defender took charge in December.

And Mourinho is seen as a contingency plan if his reported move to Manchester United fails to materialise this summer.


CLICK HERE FOR ALL THE LATEST RUMOURS


Four ways to get your post-season football fix

It’s the time of year that every football fan dreads – after months of excitement, the season comes to an end in what seems like the blink of an eye. We’ve just a few weeks to go now until some of the world’s biggest football events come to an end, from the Champions League to the South African Premier Division.

A three-month break from football is every fan’s nightmare, but help is at hand for those who can’t face being away from the beautiful game for too long. If you’re finding yourself feeling depressed about the lack of football over the next few months, here are a few ways in which you can still get your football fix.

Don’t watch it – play it!

With the football season kicking off in the height of the South African summer, it seems a shame that most of us would have spent these sunny days staying in on the sofa catching up on the latest games. Winter may be upon us now, but you can still enjoy the competitive elements of football by signing up to an indoor non-professional league with your friends.

Engage in the virtual world

Football may be great to watch or play, but how about combining the two by controlling how it’s played without leaving your sofa? FIFA 15 is still ticking all the boxes for seasoned console fans, largely thanks to its constant new updates to improve gameplay.

Explore football from the player’s view

The 2010 World Cup in South Africa gave the nation a great excuse to show off its football stadiums, so why not cure those winter blues by taking a stroll around the stadiums themselves? For example, consider taking a tour around the National Stadium in Soweto, which was known colloquially as Soccer City during the events. Tours last for 90 minutes and are available every day of the week.

Look into other sports

It may seem like a desolate football wasteland for the next three months, but this is the perfect opportunity to explore other sports, particularly ball sports. For example, in June and July, the globally popular Wimbledon Grand Slam takes place, while you can also catch Royal Ascot and the US PGA Tour.