The World Cup is here again! It's a whole summer of footballing genius and one of the greatest shows on Earth.
This time, we're going to Russia and we already know this is going to be the biggest and best World Cup for a long time. It's also a statistician's dream. The World Cup is a celebration of numbers and exciting facts, as well as football.
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3.4 billion – That's how many people will tune in to watch the World Cup, which kicks off on 14 June when the home nation Russia takes on Saudi Arabia. Of course, not everybody will watch every match, but that's the total viewing figures that FIFA will be looking to beat this time around.
1 billion – That's how many will tune in to the final, but it could be more if two of the big nations make it through to the final match unscathed.
$9.5 billion – That's how much revenue the last World Cup generated for host nation Brazil. Russia will want to top that. The host nation has invested in new stadiums, hotels, infrastructure and more. This isn't all profit and it's the overall figure from tourism, service providers and other industries. It's a huge sum, though, and it does show that hosting a World Cup is good business.
3,240 – The number of Adidas footballs that were used during the last World Cup. Now the Adidas Telstar18 is the official football of the 2018 World Cup. It comes with smartphone-enabled NFC technology and costs $200 if you want to buy one yourself.
5,154,386 – Attended the FIFA Fan Fest days at the last World Cup to watch the games on big screens and join in the fun. Russia will want to top that number. The fan zones are a crucial part of the World Cup. It's a place where those without tickets can gather and watch games in the host cities.
$880,000 – The World Cup's highest paid player, Lionel Messi, earns this incredible amount of money each and every week.
171 – Brazil 2014 and France 1998 were the highest scoring World Cups in history, with 171 goals each. That's an average of 2.67 goals a game.
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20 – That's how many World Cups we've had so far. 11 have been won by European teams and 9 by South American outfits. Could this be the year where we get a surprise winner?
5 – Brazil has won the tournament 5 times, which makes it the most successful team in World Cup history. The South American icons have won an incredible 25% of the World Cups.
2 – There are two new countries making their debut in this World Cup: Iceland and Panama.
7-5 – The most goals in a single game came in 1954, when Austria beat Switzerland in a thrilling encounter.
10-1 – When Hungary beat El Salvador in 1982, it turned into the biggest mismatch in World Cup history. It was a brutal beatdown of a game, with one of Europe's footballing superpowers delivering an absolute masterclass to a World Cup minnow.
The beauty of the World Cup is that you sometimes get a fairytale. You get an incredible underdog story and small nations with no real soccer heritage get to stick it to the big boys. This was not one of those occasions.
7980km – Russia is a vast country and the host cities are spread right across this global superpower. So, if the host nation make it to the final, they will cover an almost inconceivable 7980km traveling between the stadiums.
Moscow, St. Petersburg and Samara await Russia in the group stages. Simply getting between these stadiums will require more travel than most countries endured to get to the World Cup in the first place. Russia is a logistical nightmare for the teams and the fans. We'll have to see how that plays out during the tournament.
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10 – Thomas Muller is the leading scorer still in active duty. The German has a 10-goal haul over two World Cups and has a chance to take the record with an amazing performance this time around.
16 – Muller's countryman, Miroslav Klose, currently holds that record and he would gladly give it up to watch his country take the honours in the 2018 World Cup.
39 – That's the goal difference that defending champions Germany enjoyed in the qualifiers. It was the only team to emerge with a perfect record and it puts them in pole position.s that will host the World Cup, with two stadiums in Moscow.