World Cup 2018 – pre-tournament thoughts (and fixtures)

So its now just under 10 days until the 2018 World Cup (in Russia). The last several years I have become less bothered about the national team – partly (mostly?) because of the recent lack of success in recent major tournaments. Not just that we get knocked out “early” but the manner in which we are knocked out. E.g. v Iceland.

(If you are only here for the fixture details and the time (and what UK TV channel) – and the potential route for England, click here to jump down 😉)

I think generally the English football fans as the years have gone by the last 10-15 or so years have become less bothered – especially right after the tournament – with attendance at games down and people commenting on radio shows, what you read online and social media etc.

But it feels like people are getting a bit more excited and positive about the England football team recently. It seems with Gareth Southgate, what hes done on the pitch with a younger team with more pace has got people excited about England again. And also off the pitch I think he has dealt with things well Рincluding the whole recent Raheem Sterling thing and the media basically targeting him and having a go at him for stupid reasons.  But thats another story.

While talking about off the field stuff, thought I would mention about Russia itself. Hopefully everything goes well in Russia. Unfortunately it is not unknown for there to be problems in Russia around football with hooligans. In the last major tournament in 2016 in France, Russia fans (and others) were involved in violence. And we know that England fans always drink too much and act like idiots. I hope nothing bad happens!

Now with all this being said about England, I am not expecting us to win but I am hoping at the least we get to the quarter finals. Which may not sound too positive but not long ago I was hoping just get out of the group stage! LOL.

There are many good teams in the tournament and several teams, according to the bookies, more likely to win than England. Above England are Brazil, Germany, Spain, France, Argentina an Belgium. You can get odds as high as 20/1 for England to win. If I was to place a bet myself, I would bet on Germany. Very good team, always do well in tournaments. Here are the odds right now:

Will be interesting to see how Belgium do – on paper, a very very strong team but almost like England – actually worse than England – with their tournament record. 2014 actually they did fairly well getting to the World Cup quarter final and 2016 got the quarter final for Euros – but before that was 2002 got to round of 16. They didn’t even qualify for 2006 and 2010 World Cup; didn’t qualify for 2004, 08 or 2012 Euros. So actually last 2 tournaments they have got to quarter final. Maybe a couple steps further in Russia?

So although I started this post talking about how I was becoming less excited about the England football team recently, at the end of the day its the World Cup and its the biggest tournament in world football. And the biggest tournament in the world probably. Certainly if you take into consideration the number of people who watch it. The 2014 World Cup final was watched by 1 billion people around the world! The SuperBowl got about 112 million this year in the US – can’t find the worldwide figures.

Here are the fixtures for the World Cup (including the channels and time they are on in the UK)!

Group stages

(Bold group stage matches are England games.)

Thursday 14 June
Russia vs Saudi Arabia (Group A) – Moscow (Luzhniki) – 4pm – ITV

Friday 15 June
Egypt vs Uruguay (Group A) – Ekaterinburg – 1pm – BBC
Morocco vs Iran (Group B) – St Petersburg – 4pm – ITV
Portugal vs Spain (Group B) – Sochi – 7pm – BBC

Saturday 16 June
France vs Australia (Group C) – Kazan – 11am – BBC
Argentina vs Iceland (Group D) – Moscow (Spartak) – 2pm – ITV
Peru vs Denmark (Group C) – Saransk – 5pm – BBC
Croatia vs Nigeria (Group D) – Kaliningrad – 8pm – ITV

Sunday 17 June
Costa Rica vs Serbia (Group E) – Samara – 1pm – ITV
Germany vs Mexico (Group F) – Moscow (Luzhniki) – 4pm – BBC
Brazil vs Switzerland (Group E) – Rostov-on-Don – 7pm – ITV

Monday 18 June
Sweden vs South Korea (Group F) – Nizhny Novgorod – 1pm – ITV
Belgium vs Panama (Group G) – Sochi – 4pm – BBC
Tunisia vs England (Group G) – Volgograd – 7pm – BBC

Tuesday 19 June
Colombia vs Japan (Group H) – Saransk – 1pm – BBC
Poland vs Senegal (Group H) – Moscow (Spartak) – 4pm – ITV
Russia vs Egypt (Group A) – St Petersburg – 7pm – BBC

Wednesday 20 June
Portugal vs Morocco (Group B) – Moscow (Luzhniki) – 1pm – BBC
Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia (Group A) – Rostov-on-Don – 4pm – BBC
Iran vs Spain (Group B) – Kazan – 7pm – ITV

Thursday 21 June
Denmark vs Australia (Group C) – Samara – 1pm – ITV
France vs Peru (Group C) – Ekaterinburg – 4pm – ITV
Argentina vs Croatia (Group D) – Nizhny Novgorod – 7pm – BBC

Friday 22 June
Brazil vs Costa Rica (Group E) – St Petersburg – 1pm – ITV
Nigeria vs Iceland (Group D) – Volgograd – 4pm – BBC
Serbia vs Switzerland (Group E) – Kaliningrad – 7pm – BBC

Saturday 23 June
Belgium vs Tunisia (Group G) – Moscow (Spartak) – 1pm – BBC
South Korea vs Mexico (Group F) – Rostov-on-Don – 4pm – ITV
Germany v Sweden (Group F) – Sochi – 7pm – ITV

Sunday 24 June
England vs Panama (Group G) – Nizhny Novgorod – 1pm – BBC
Japan vs Senegal (Group H) – Ekaterinburg – 4pm – BBC
Poland vs Colombia (Group H) – Kazan – 7pm – ITV

Monday 25 June
Uruguay vs Russia (Group A) – Samara – 3pm – ITV
Saudi Arabia vs Egypt (Group A) – Volgograd – 3pm – ITV
Spain vs Morocco (Group B) – Kaliningrad – 7pm- BBC
Iran vs Portugal (Group B) – Saransk – 7pm – BBC

Tuesday 26 June
Denmark vs France (Group C) – Moscow (Luzhniki) – 3pm – ITV
Australia vs Peru (Group C) – Sochi – 3pm – ITV
Nigeria vs Argentina (Group D) – St Petersburg – 7pm – BBC
Iceland vs Croatia (Group D) – Rostov-on-Don – 7pm – BBC

Wednesday 27 June
South Korea vs Germany (Group F) – Kazan – 3pm – BBC
Mexico vs Sweden (Group F) – Ekaterinburg – 3pm – BBC
Serbia vs Brazil (Group E) – Moscow (Spartak) – 7pm – ITV
Switzerland vs Costa Rica (Group E) – Nizhny Novgorod – 7pm – ITV

Thursday 28 June
Japan vs Poland (Group H) – Volgograd – 3pm – BBC
Senegal vs Colombia (Group H) – Samara – 3pm – BBC
England vs Belgium (Group G) – Kaliningrad – 7pm – ITV
Panama vs Tunisia (Group G) – Saransk – 7pm – ITV

Round of 16

(Matches in red bold are potential England fixtures)

Saturday 30 June
Group C winner vs Group D runner-up – Kazan, 3pm (Match 50)
Group A winner vs Group B runner-up- Sochi, 7pm (Match 49)

Sunday 1 July
Group B winner vs Group A runner-up- Moscow (Luzhniki), 3pm (Match 51)
Group D winner vs Group C runner-up – Nizhny Novgorod, 7pm (Match 52)

Monday 2 July
Group E winner vs Group F runner-up – Samara, 3pm (Match 53)
Group G winner vs Group H runner-up – Rostov-on-Don, 7pm (Match 54)

Tuesday 3 July
Group F winner vs Group E runner-up – St Petersburg 3pm (Match 55)
Group H winner vs Group G runner-up – Moscow (Spartak), 7pm (Match 56)


Friday 6 July
Winner match 49 vs Winner match 50 – Nizhny Novgorod, 3pm (Match 57)
Winner match 53 vs Winner match 54 – Kazan, 7pm (Match 58)

Saturday 7 July
Winner match 55 vs Winner match 56 – Samara, 3pm (Match 60)
Winner match 51 vs Winner match 52 – Sochi, 7pm (Match 59)

(For semi-final and final, potentially England could be playing in any of the following fixtures…)


Tuesday 10 July
Winner match 57 vs Winner match 58 – St Petersburg, 7pm (Match 61)

Wednesday 11 July
Winner match 59 vs Winner match 60 – Moscow (Luzhniki), 7pm (Match 62)

Third place play-off

Saturday 14 July
Loser match 61 vs Loser match 62 – St Petersburg, 3pm


Sunday 15 July
Moscow (Luzhniki), 4pm


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