Fifa World Cup 2018 begins on Thursday (June 14, 2018) in Russia. The opening ceremony will be held in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium which will also host the final.
There will also be a concert held in the city's famous Red Square concurrently with the opening ceremony. The 32 teams which are participating in the Fifa World Cup 2018 have gone through a rigorous World Cup qualifying campaign.
Here are the teams in the FIFA World Cup 2018 and what's special about them and their players.
Vladimir Gabulov & Denis Cheryshev could become the first players to appear for Russia at a World Cup whilst playing in a foreign league since 2002. At the 2014 World Cup, Russia's squad was made up entirely of players from their own top-flight (Russian Premier League).
2. Saudi Arabia
Of players attempting 1000+ passes in the Saudi Arabian Pro League in 2017-18, Abdullah Ateef registered the highest passing accuracy (90.3%).
On the opening day of the 2018 World Cup, Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary will be 45 years & 149 days old. Should he play in the tournament, he'll become the oldest player to feature in a World Cup game, overtaking the retired Colombian footballer Faryd Mondragon.
This will be Uruguay boss Oscar Tabárez's fourth World Cup appearance as a manager (following 1990, 2010, and 2014); more than any other manager at this year’s tournament.
Cristiano Ronaldo was directly involved in more goals than any other player in the 2018 European World Cup qualifiers (18), scoring 15 goals & assisting a further three.
Iago Aspas was the top-scoring Spanish player in the big 5 European Leagues in 2017-18, netting 22 goals in 34 appearances for Celta Vigo in La Liga.
France's 23-point is the most they've ever accumulated in a World Cup qualifying campaign.
It took Australia 22 matches to seal their entry into this year's World Cup. This is the most any nation has ever played in a World Cup qualifying campaign.
No player scored more goals during European World Cup qualifying without providing an assist than Croatia's Mario Mandzukic (5)
Since their first appearance in 1994, no African team has taken part in as many World Cups as Nigeria (6 - 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010, 2014 and 2018).
Brazil is the only team to have taken part in every single World Cup since 1930, with Russia 2018 becoming their 21st appearance in as many tournaments.
Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri is the first player since 1966 to score a World Cup hat-trick entirely with his left foot, doing so against Honduras at the last tournament in Brazil.
3. Costa Rica
This will be Óscar Ramírez's first World Cup as a manager. He also played every single minute of Costa Rica’s 1990 World Cup campaign; their first-ever appearance in the competition.
Only Joshua Kimmich (9) provided more assists in 2018 European World Cup qualifying than Serbia's Dusan Tadic (7). Also, Germany has reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in each of the last four editions, the longest current streak of any team, as well as topping their group in every single World Cup since 1990.
Rafael Márquez is featuring in his fifth different World Cup finals tournament in Russia, equalling the record currently held by Antonio Carbajal (Mexico) and Lothar Matthäus (Germany).
Sweden is unbeaten in their last nine group games at the World Cup (W3 & D6), with their last defeat in the first round coming back in June 1990 (1-2 v Costa Rica).
4. Korean Republic
Son Heung-min, who scored his 20th Premier League goal against Crystal Palace in November, became the highest Asian goalscorer in the competition's history, surpassing Park Ji-sung (19).
Panama qualified for the 2018 World Cup finals, despite having a negative goal difference in their final group stage of CONCACAF qualifying (9 goals scored, 10 conceded).
Belgium defender Thomas Meunier was directly involved in seven goals against Gibraltar in August 2017 (3 goals, 4 assists) - no other player in European WCQ was involved in more than four in a single game.
Since winning its first-ever game at a World Cup in 1978 (3-1 v Mexico), Tunisia has failed to win their 11 subsequent games in the competition (D4 & L7). The record for the longest winless run at a World Cup belongs to Bulgaria (17).
England had the joint-best defensive record during European World Cup qualification alongside Spain, conceding a mere three goals in 10 games.
Robert Lewandowski was the top scorer in European World Cup qualification with 16 goals, netting 57% of Poland’s goals (16 of 28) – no teammate scored more than three times.
Senegal was unbeaten in their only previous group phase appearance at a World Cup (W1 & D2), which included a victory in the opening game against defending champions France (1-0).
Top scorer for Colombia during qualification and all-time at the World Cup, James Rodríguez has been directly involved in eight of his team's last 10 goals at the finals (6 goals, 2 assists).
Japan manager Akira Nishino only replaced the previous coach Vahid Halilhodzic in April. Nishino previously took charge of Japan at the 1996 Summer Olympics and failed to get them out of the group stages.
All the stats have been acquired from @OptaJoe Twitter