Russia 2018 was the 21st edition of the FIFA World Cup—a global showpiece contested by 32 of FIFA’s 211 member nations every four years. It was the 11th tournament hosted by a European country, with a total of 64 matches played between June 14 and July 15, 2018, with France defeating Croatia in the final.
Stats & Facts
The tournament was the first to introduce the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), a system installed to aid match officials and referees in their decision making. The first ever VAR World Cup penalty was awarded in France’s 2-1 win over Australia in the group stages, converted by Antoine Griezmann.
Russia’s win over Saudi Arabia in the tournament’s curtain raiser means the host nation has never lost the first match in any of FIFA’s 21 world cup editions (W16, D6, L0).
France beat Croatia in the final on July 15, making Didier Deschamp the third person to win the World Cup both as a manager and as a player, having been France’s captain when they won the 1998 World Cup.
There were 169 goals scored across all 64 matches, including France’s own 12 goals, which doubled the previous record of 6 set in 1998. There were only two hat-tricks in the tournament, scored by Harry Kane and the evergreen Cristiano Ronaldo.
Belgium was the heaviest contributor to the tournament’s overall tally, at 16 goals scored, with Panama conceding the most of any side (11), with 6 conceded against England alone.
The tournament also saw the record for most penalties awarded (29), a whooping 24 of those coming in the group stages, with bookies’ pre-tournament Golden Boot favorite Lionel Messi being the man responsible for missing the first penalty of the tournament and ending the competition with a solitary strike.
England striker Harry Kane took home the Golden Boot prize owing to his six goals throughout the tournament, with Antoine Griezmann, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe, Romelu Lukaku, and Denis Cheryshev all finding the net four times in Russia.
Kylian Mbappe’s strike against Argentina made him the first teenager to score twice in a World Cup match since Pele in 1958, with his stellar performances earning him the Golden Boy award.
Croatia star Luka Modric snapped up the Golden Ball for the best player at the tournament, with Belgium forward Eden Hazard in a close second. This became the first tournament where both the best player and the runner-up didn’t come from the tournament champion.
Interested in knowing more facts from the 2018 World Cup? Check out the infographic below detailing the best team and player stats from the top 16 teams in Russia.