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Looking ahead to the 2018 FIFA World Cup

Now that the qualifying rounds are over and the teams are gearing up for the main games, it’s time to turn our attention to one of the biggest global sporting events of 2018.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look the runners and riders for next year’s FIFA World Cup.

Teams to watch

The first team to qualify this year (other than Russia, who automatically receive a spot as hosts) was Brazil, and the South American football powerhouse are being touted by lots of bookies as second favourites – with only Germany ahead.

Other teams tipped to do well include France, Argentina and Spain. England are eighth favourites, according to many bookies, while rank outsiders include first-time qualifiers Iceland and Panama.

Who didn’t make it?

There were a number of high profile casualties in the qualifiers this time round, and quite a few international sides were left with bruised egos.

Perhaps the most famous side to miss out was the United States of America; their loss in Trinidad and Tobago meant they won’t be in the tournament for the first time since 1986. Bruce Arena, the team’s coach, quit in the aftermath of the disaster.

“While this is a difficult time, I maintain a fierce belief that we are heading in the right direction,” he said.

“I believe in the American player and the American coach, and with our combined efforts the future remains bright.”

Another shock for not qualifying was Italy, you failed to qualify for the first time since 1958. Many Italians are now calling for a change of regime with Chelsea’s Conte being their favoured choice. Other teams not to qualify include Qatar, who are not only the 2022 hosts, but whose national airline sponsors the games, Netherlands, who have finished runners-up on three occasions and Chile, double South American champions.

When and where

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be the 21st iteration of the tournament, and it’s due to be held across 11 Russian cities between 14th June and 15th July.

But if you can’t make it out to Russia to see the action live, don’t worry. There’ll be lots of screenings here in the UK for those who can’t bear to be without their slice of the football action.

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