I‘ve had many kinds of fever: the head-splitting ones, the ones that make me puke and the ones that just make me want to curl into a ball and die.
But every four years, I will get a fever that I won’t just dread the coming of, but actually look forward to. The name of the fever?
World Cup Fever. Ole!
Indeed, the World Cup is almost upon us again, and may I just say that the hype is reaching a fever pitch high.
So with such an earth-breaking occasion almost upon us, what’s new for the football scene?
Let’s find out.
1. Finally of age
Unbeknownst to the majority of us, the 2018 FIFA World Cup will be the 21st FIFA World Cup in the history of the competition.
This means that like the more mature population of the world, the FWC is finally ready to go all out and do some kinky stuff.
2. Hosting Country
Every year, countries continually vie for the rights to host the World Cup, and it’s totally understandable. It’s like a Goodyfeed advertisement for your company: we host your site on our platform, and increase your publicity and later on revenue.
As such, the prestigious event this timearoundd will be held in Russia from 14 June to 15 July 2018. And for trivia’s sake, the next time has been snatched- ceremoniously taken by Qatar.
Dammit, Singapore when’s your turn? I wanna see CR7 and Messi before I die!
Like all the previous editions, the World Cup 2018 will feature 32 international countries fighting to the death…
Wait, this isn’t the Hunger Games? Shit, my bad.
Incidentally, this is the full list of the qualifying countries this time round:
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
- Costa Rica
- Germany (the World Cup 2014 winners)
- Russia (hosts)
4. Notable absentees
Because of the harsh selection process, only 32 countries are allowed to participate. And this means that every year, a notable country in the footballing world falls just short (or simply short) of making the cut.
In 2018, the unfortunate victims include four-time champions Italy (for the first time since 1958) and three-time runner-up, the Netherlands.
Lets just take a minute to grieve for our fallen nations here.
But if there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, it would be that Egypt qualified for the first time since 1990. And that means…
MO, MO, MO SALAH!!!
Did you know? The winners of the World Cup will qualify for the 2021 FIFA Confederation Cup.
Which is admittedly not the most note-worthy thing of mention, but hey it is a perk, and that’s what this whole section’s all about.
Additionally, here are the prizes for each position.
Champions: 38 USD million per team l 38 USD million in total
Runner-ups: 28 USD million per team l 28 USD million in total
Third place: 24 USD million per team l 24 USD million in total
Fourth place: 22 USD million per team l 22 USD million in total
5th to 8th place: 16 USD million per team l 64 USD million in total
9th to 16th place: 12 USD million per team l 96 USD million in total
17th to 32nd place: 8 USD million per team l 128 USD million in total
So as you can see… the World Cup’s a pretty lucrative platform. Which makes me wonder why I never pursued my footballing dreams.
Oh right, cos I play with two left feet. #goddamnfootballinggenes
6. Competition format
For those who only watch the World Cup for the handsome guys, here’s a breakdown of how the World Cup (or football competitions in general) works:
At the start, there will be eight groups of four teams. The top two of each group will progress to the quarter-finals, where they square off against each other until they reach the grand finals, which will be held at Moscow (Luzhniki).
Here’s a bracket of the competition to illustrate what the hell I’m talking about:
And here are the respective groupings for this time’s World Cup.
- Saudi Arabia
- Costa Rica
- South Korea
I gotta say; the groupings are pretty well-balanced. This should make for an exciting tournament.
If you’re wondering when the matches exactly start, take a look down below:
Incidentally, Moscow Timing is 4 hours faster than Singapore timing.
Example: 17:00 MSK equates to 21:00 Singapore timing.
Gotta say; the timings this time round are a lot kinder to the Singaporean folks. I mean, there are still quite a few early morning timings, but compared to World Cup 2014 it’s a great deal of difference.
Most matches would be either at 8:00 p.m., 11:00 p.m. or 2:00 a.m. Singapore time.
And the best of all? The Final is at 11:00 p.m. 15 July 2018, 11:00 p.m., to be exact (it’s a Sunday night FYI).
And of course, we can’t possibly go without the event’s pictorial representatives.
The inspiration for the official FIFA 2018 emblem was derived from Russia’s tradition and its bold & innovative history, and I must say: that’s one beautiful tradition and history going on.
Selected by internet voting, the mascot, a wolf named Zabivaka, was unveiled on 21 October 2016. Incidentally, the mascot for the last edition is this guy:
Hmm… it seems at the very least, the mascot for the 2018 version doesn’t lose out in the coolness category.
And last but not least, we have the Adidas Telstar 18 as the official World Cup 2018 match ball. Gonna get it anytime soon?
Back when the bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were still going on, allegations of corruption popped up, causing actual threats from England’s FA to snub the tournament.
Although Russia and Qatar (the respective holders of the 2018 and 2022 WC) were eventually cleared of any wrongdoing by German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, it was a decision later denounced by critics as a whitewash. Michael J Garcia, the US attorney who reported on the corruption allegations in the first place, later criticised the summary and submitted an appeal, but it was turned down by the court. Garcia would later resign in protest.
Later on, a financial crisis in the Russian economy would force the government to take drastic action, cutting the budget by $560 million to an admittedly still astounding $11.8 billion. Subsequently, there were a few back-and-forths, but in 2017 it would rise by $600 million to hit $11.8 billion again.
11. Singtel, Starhub & Mediacorp Joins Forces To Bring World Cup to S’porean Football Fans
You can catch the whole coverage of the entire season right here in Singapore.
Because Singtel, Starhub and Mediacorp are joining forces this time.
In a press release, the three local broadcasters said that anyone who is interested in catching every match of the World Cup 2018 can subscribe to their standalone World Cup package.
Early birds can get the package at $94.16 before 22 May. After which, the subscription will cost you $112.35.
For those who are cheapos (like me), don’t worry if you don’t want to pay for anything.
Oktosports, our neighbourhood friendly (and most importantly, free) channel is airing nine matches.
- Opening match: Russia vs Saudi Arabia (Jun 14, 11 pm SGT)
- Argentina vs Iceland (Jun 16, 9 pm)
- Brazil vs Costa Rica (Jun 22, 8 pm)
- England vs Panama (Jun 24, 8 pm)
- Denmark vs France (Jun 26, 10 pm)
- South Korea vs Germany (Jun 27, 10 pm)
- 1st Semi-final (Jul 11, 2 am)
- 2nd Semi-final (Jul 12, 2 am)
- Final (Jul 15, 11 pm) (I think is Singapore vs England)
Plus, Mediacorp said it will produce a show “capturing all the action and drama of the World Cup”.
So you can expect extended live feeds, analyses of key moments with soccer personalities before, during half-time and after the match.
Are you ready?
With barely more than a month to the first match of the tournament, I would say that this is a pretty ideal time to experience some good ol’ world cup fever.
And what better way to get hyped up for it than some classic Waka Waka?
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