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Russia 20



The 21st FIFA World Cup Finals were awarded to Russia on 2 December 2010.

In October 2007, FIFA ended its continental rotation policy. Instead countries that are members of the same confederation as either of the last two tournament hosts are ineligible. By March 2009, eight countries, with Russia being the last, declared an interest in hosting the 2018 World Cup, after England, joint bids from Belgium and the Netherlands and Spain and Portugal. Mexico and Indonesia withdrew their bids early in the process.

England received two votes in the first round and were thus knocked out at the first hurdle. Netherlands/Belgium received 4, Spain/Portugal 7 and Russia 9. The second round saw the same placings, with Russia taking both of the votes England had, as well as two more from the Netherlands/Belgium bid.


The Draw

The final draw for the 2018 World Cup was held at State Kremlin Palace in Moscow on 1 December 2017, hosted by England's own ex-forward Gary Lineker.

Pot 1 (seeded) Pot 2 Pot 3 Pot 4
Russia (hosts) Spain Denmark Serbia
Germany (holders) Peru Iceland Nigeria
Brazil Switzerland Costa Rica Australia
Portugal England Sweden Japan
Argentina Colombia Tunisia Morocco
Belgium Mexico Egypt Panama
Poland Uruguay Senegal Korea Republic
France Croatia Iran Saudi Arabia


The Build-Up

1 December 2017: Diego Maradona picks out England from the second pot and puts them in Group G with Belgium. Diego Forlan gave them fourth position in the group. Tunisia and Panama follow from their respective pots.

12 June: The England squad checked in to the forRestMix Club Hotel in the small spa village of Repino on the Gulf of Finland.

13 June: England held an open training session at the Spartak Zelenogorsk Stadium to invited guests. Marcus Rashford, who had picked up a knee injury in a practice match at St. George's Park, the day before the flight to Russia, sat out the session. Eric Dier trained with strapping on his leg.

14 June: Rashford again sat out training. Although not considered serious, it seemed likely that Raheem Sterling would start the opening game against Tunisia, instead of Rashford.

"Southgate has come in with the mentality [that if you] play with freedom, play without fear, you will enjoy your time more," Lingard said. "So that is what we are going to do - enjoy our football, play with no fear and play exciting football at the same time." - The Times

15 June: Rashford joined the squad in training and was reported to be moving well. Raheem Sterling, meanwhile, revealed that he had been studying videos of Tunisia's warm-up games.

16 June: Gareth Southgate revealed his starting eleven against Tunisia to the players.

"Our first aim is to get out of the group and I have to focus on the controllables within that; so, preparing properly, making sure the team are ready, which I believe they are, and we're gonna enjoy the journey." - Gareth Southgate on ITV

17 June: England held a final training session in Repino, before heading to Volgograd...















First Phase Table
Group G
Team P W D L F A GD Pts
Belgium 3 3 0 0 9 2 +7 9 5
England 3 2 0 1 8 3 +5 6 2
Tunisia 3 1 0 2 5 8 -3 0 4
Panama 3 0 0 3 2 11 -10 0 11
18 June 2018 - both MSK
6.00pm - Belgium 3 Panama 0 [0-0]
Stadion Fisht Olympic, Sochi
Mertens, Lukaku (2)
9.00pm - Tunisia 1 England 2 [1-1]
Volgograd Arena, Volgograd (41,064)
Sassi (pen)
Kane (2)

"England had to work so hard for this victory, and lacked imagination at times to break down a well organised Tunisia defence.
"...persistent grappling from Tunisians at set pieces.
"Unconvincing? Yes. But determined? Yes.
"MAN OF THE MATCH: Harry Kane 8/10 - Fell short of emulating Cristiano Ronaldo's exploits but two chances and two goals ensured that he, and England, are up and running."
- The Times, 19 June 2018

"A game that should have been won at a canter, was snatched at the death - but thanks to Kane the result cannot be argued with." - Daily Express, 19 June 2018

"Goodness me, it was hard work, at times." - Guy Mowbray, BBC commentator

23 June 2018 - both 3.00pm MSK
Belgium 5 Tunisia 2 [3-1]
Otkritie Arena, Moskva (44,190)
E.Hazard (2 (1 pen)), Lukaku (2), Batshuayi
Bronn, Khazri
24 June 2018
England 6 Panama 1 [5-0]
Stadion Nizhny Novgorod, Nizhny Novgorod (43,319)
Stones (2), Kane (3 (2 pens)), Lingard

"...England's supporters now have a group of young men who wear the shirt with pride and play with verve, intelligence and discipline.
"They're playing with a smile, rather than a scowl.
"Panama were poor, guileless and overly physical...
"MAN OF THE MATCH: Jesse Lingard 9/10 - Found scoring touch that eluded him against Tunisia and won Kane's penalty, too. Movement and ability to find space is exceptional."
- The Times, 25 June 2018

"...England players hunting in packs, exploiting weaknesses, cruelly picking off Panama blow after blow." - Daily Express, 25 June 2018

"England will have much tougher tests than this to come, but England have passed this one with flying colours." - Guy Mowbray, BBC commentator

"What transpired could not possibly have been forecast by even the most fervent England supporter." - Mike Payne, EnglandFootballOnline.com

28 June 2018
8.00pm KALT - England 0 Belgium 1 [0-0]
Stadion Kaliningrad, Kaliningrad (33,973)
9.00pm MSK - Panama 1 Tunisia 2 [1-0]
Mordovia Arena, Saransk (37,168)
Meriah OG
F.Ben Youssef, Khazri

"...England's options are not as deep and rich as believed.
"Belgium's reserves...were patently superior. England lacked creativity through the centre..."
- The Times, 29 June 2018

"...our new England were back to being a bunch of enthusiastic but limited footballers missing its cutting edge.
"MAN OF THE MATCH: Gary Cahill 7/10 - His usual reliable self. Cleared one off the line in the first half and then switched to the centre of the three when Stones went off."
- Daily Express, 29 June 2018

"Belgium coach Roberto Martinez had admitted "the priority was not to win" but his bench celebrated with gusto when Adnan Januzaj scored."  - World Soccer

"How painful that defeat will prove to be, we will know in a week, hopefully, a week or two's time." - Clive Tyldesley, ITV commentator

"It seemed that something was missing from all areas of England's play, but the bigger picture had to be recognised and it was valuable game time for the players on the fringes." - Mike Payne, EnglandFootballOnline.com

The Second Phase

30 June 2018 - both MSK
5.00pm - France 4 Argentina 3 [1-1]
Kazan Arena, Kazan (42,873)
Griezmann (pen), Pavard, Mbappé (2)
Di María, Mercado, Agüero
9.00pm - Uruguay 2 Portugal 1 [1-0]
Stadion Fisht Olympic, Sochi (44,287)
Cavani (2)
1 July 2018 - both MSK
5.00pm - Spain 1 Russia 1 [1-1]ᴭᵀ
3-4 on penalty-kicks
Luzhniki Stadium, Moskva (78,011)
Ignashevićh OG
Dzuba (pen)
Penalty Shoot-out:- Andrés Iniesta 1-0, Fedor Smolov 1-1, Gerard Piqué 2-1, Sergey Ignashevićh 2-2, Koke saved, Aleksandr Golovin 2-3, Sergio Ramos 3-3, Denis Cherysev 3-4, Iago Aspas missed.
9.00pm - Croatia 1 Denmark 1 [1-1]ᴭᵀ
3-2 on penalty-kicks
Stadion Nizhny Novgorod, Nizhny Novgorod (40,851)
Penalty Shoot-out:- Christian Eriksen post, Milan Badelj saved, Simon Kjær 1-0, Andrej Kramarić 1-1, Michael Krohn-Dehli 2-1, Luka Modrić 2-2, Lasse Schöne saved, Josip Pivarić saved, Nicolai Jørgensen saved, Ivan Rakitić 2-3.
2 July 2018
6.00pm SAMT - Brazil 2 Mexico 0 [0-0]
Cosmos Arena, Samara (41,970)
Neymar Jnr, Firminho
9.00pm MSK - Belgium 3 Japan 2 [0-0]
Rostov Arena, Rostov-On-Don (41,466)
Vertonghen, Fellaini, Chadli
Haraguchi, Inui
3 July 2018
5.00pm MSK - Sweden 1 Switzerland 0 [0-0]
Krestovsky Stadium, St. Petersburg (64,042)
9.00pm MSK - England 1 Colombia 1 [0-0]ᴭᵀ
4-3 on penalty-kicks
Otkritie Arena, Moskva (44,190)
Kane (pen)
Penalty Shoot-out:- Radamel Falcao 1-0, Harry Kane 1-1, Juan Cuadradro 2-1, Marcus Rashford 2-2, Luis Muriel 3-2, Jordan Henderson saved, Mateus Uribe bar, Kieran Trippier 3-3, Carlos Bacca saved, Eric Dier 3-4.

"England's captain was magnificent...
"...they kept their discipline, unlike their opponents, a collection of good individuals stooping to niggling offences too often.
"...an encounter draining both mentally and physically.
"MAN OF THE MATCH: Jordan Pickford 8/10 - Weak link according to Arséne Wenger, he produced a brilliant save to deny Uribe before defenders let him down. Brilliant shoot-out save."
- The Times, 4 July 2018

"Ultimately, though, what earned England their quarter-final tie in Samara on Saturday was not the team's youth but its maturity - they kept their heads in the most trying of circumstances last night." - Daily Express, 4 July 2018

"...yet again he was wrestled to the floor with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer...Why do they do it?...It was awful...one of the Colombians [Mojica] purposely scuffed up the penalty spot for all he was worth. Again, where was the red card? One could only imagine that the VAR people must have gone home! - Mike Payne, EnglandFootballOnline.com

"We've talked about creating their own stories and creating their own history and they've done a little bit of that, tonight. We go to a quarter-final, but I don't wanna go home yet... - Gareth Southgate

Round of sixteen

Quarter Finals

6 July 2018 - both MSK
5.00pm - Uruguay 0 France 2 [0-1]
Stadion Nizhny Novgorod, Nizhny Novgorod (43,319)
Varane, Griezmann
9.00pm - Brazil 1 Belgium 2 [0-2]
Kazan Arena, Kazan (42,873)
Renato Augusto
Fernandinho OG, De Bruyne
7 July 2018
6.00pm SAMT - Sweden 0 England 2 [0-1]
Cosmos Arena, Samara (39,991)
Maguire, Alli
9.00pm MSK - Russia 2 Croatia 2 [1-1]ᴭᵀ
3-4 on penalty-kicks
Stadion Fisht Olympic, Sochi (44,287)
Cherysev, Mário Fernandes
Kramarić, Vida
Penalty Shoot-out:- Fedor Smolov saved, Marcelo Brozović 0-1, Alan Dzagoev 1-1, Kovačić saved, Mário Fernandes missed, Luka Modrić 1-2, Sergey Ignashevićh 2-2, Domagoj Vida 2-3, Daler Kuziaev 3-3, Ivan Rakitić 3-4

"England will have to perform better than this to progress further. Sweden are a game but limited side, yet they still forced Jordan Pickford to make three outstanding second-half saves.
"Southgate said:..."We're not the finished article. We don't have renowned, world-class players - yet."
"Sweden manager Janne Andersson said: "We had three very good chances - and we needed to take them. But England were just better than we were.""
- Sunday People, 8 July 2018

"...England have reconnected with the fans with their honesty of expression and endeavour.
"These are not the golden generation, they are the genial generation, approachable and approaching glory."
- The Times, 9 July 2018

"MAN OF THE MATCH: Jordan Pickford - only needed to make three saves for his clean sheet - but they were all brilliant stops - bbc.co.uk

"No fuss, no heartache, in fact just what the doctor ordered! - Mike Payne, EnglandFootballOnline.com

"The feeling grows stronger, that football is coming home." - Guy Mowbray, BBC commentator

Semi Finals

10 July 2018 - both 9.00pm MSK
France 1 Belgium 0 [0-0]
Krestovsky Stadium, St. Petersburg (64,286)
11 July 2018
Croatia 2 England 1 [0-1]ᴭᵀ
Luzhniki Stadium, Moskva (78,011)
Perišić, Mandžukić

"This is only the beginning.
"England needed a second goal to add to Trippier's marvellous free-kick opener. They cannot afford lapses of concentration like the one made by Kyle Walker when Ivan Perišić scored...
"...Stones hesitated, and Mandžukić lengthened England's years of hurt. But there is now hope."
- The Times, 12 July 2018

"Croatia were simply that little bit better and considerably more experienced." - Daily Express, 12 July 2018

"MAN OF THE MATCH: Kieran Trippier 8/10 - Distinguished himself again and scored a brilliant goal. What a World Cup he has had. - bbc.co.uk

"England are out, but England are back as contenders." - Clive Tyldesley, ITV commentator

"...we were still twenty minutes from a World Cup final, and then, in extra time, ten minutes from a shootout to get to a World Cup final. That is going to live with me forever, no doubt about that...That group of people will never be together again. That's why you've got to enjoy those moments...It should be harder to get into the group than it has been this time." - Gareth Southgate


Third Place Play-off

14 July 2018 - 5.00pm MSK
Belgium 2 England 0 [1-0]
Krestovsky Stadium, St. Petersburg (64,406)
Meunier, Hazard

"Belgium were a class apart in terms of talent and technique.
"Yet England hung on...they even threatened to extend their tournament by an extra thirty minutes."
- Sunday People, 15 July 2018

"We've closed the gap to the best teams, but this shows again that there is still room for improvement." - Gareth Southgate

"Throughout there were cameos of Belgian class that England must aspire to.
"England were not consistently creative enough in their passing, or quick enough in transition, but they had a few decent moments."
- The Times, 16 July 2018


The 2018 Final

15 July 2018 - 6.00pm MSK
France 4 Croatia 2 [2-1]
Luzhniki Stadium, Moskva (78,011)
Mandžukić OG, Griezmann (pen), Pogba, Mbappé
Perišić, Mandžukić