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FIFA World Cup 2018: Snappy facts about every team in the tournament

Here are some interesting facts about the 32 teams playing in Fifa World Cup 2018

BS Web Team 

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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 have gone through a rigorous World Cup qualifying campaign.

Here are the teams in the and what's special about them and their players.

Group A:

1. Russia

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%).

3. Egypt

On the opening day of the 2018 World Cup, goalkeeper 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

4. Uruguay

This will be 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.

Group B

1. Portugal

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.

2. Spain

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.

3. Morocco

Competing in the World Cup for the first time as boss, Hervé Renard is the only manager to win with two different teams (Zambia and Ivory Coast).

4. Iran

Iran's scored 21 goals in the last season – two more than any other player in the division.

Group C

1. France

France's 23-point is the most they've ever accumulated in a World Cup qualifying campaign.

2. Australia

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.

3. Peru

is participating in their first World Cup since 1982, that gap of 36 years is the biggest of any of the 32 teams that have qualified for

4. Denmark

was both the top scorer (11) and top assist provider (3) for during qualification for

Group D

1. Argentina

scored seven goals in the CONMEBOL qualifiers for - no other Argentinian player scored more than two.

2. Iceland

are competing in their first World Cup and are one of the two nations at making their maiden appearance, along with Panama.

3. Croatia

No player scored more goals during European World Cup qualifying without providing an assist than Croatia's (5)

4. Nigeria

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).

Group E

1. Brazil

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.

2. Switzerland

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 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.

Group F

1. Germany

Only (9) provided more assists in 2018 European World Cup qualifying than Serbia's (7). Also, 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.

2. Mexico

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).

3. 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).

Group G

1. Panama

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).

2. Belgium

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.

3. Tunisia

Since winning its first-ever game at a World Cup in 1978 (3-1 v Mexico), 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 (17).

4. England

England had the joint-best defensive record during European World Cup qualification alongside Spain, conceding a mere three goals in 10 games.

Group H

1. Poland

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.

2. 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).

3. Colombia

Top scorer for 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).

4. Japan

manager only replaced the previous coach Vahid Halilhodzic in April. Nishino previously took charge of at and failed to get them out of the group stages.

All the stats have been acquired from @OptaJoe Twitter

First Published: Thu, June 14 2018. 17:39 IST