The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be the 21st FIFA World Cup, a quadrennial international football tournament contested by the men's national teams of the member associations of FIFA. It is scheduled to take place in Russia from 14 June to 15 July 2018, after the country was awarded the hosting rights on 2 December 2010. This will be the first World Cup held in Europe since the 2006 tournament in Germany; all but one of the stadium venues are in European Russia, west of the Ural Mountains to keep travel time manageable. The final tournament will involve 32 national teams, which include 31 teams determined through qualifying competitions and the automatically qualified host team. Of the 32 teams, 20 will be making back-to-back appearances following the last tournament in 2014, including defending champions Germany, while Iceland and Panama will both be making their first appearances at a FIFA World Cup. A total of 64 matches will be played in 12 venues located in 11 cities. The final will take place on 15 July at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.[
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The Brazil national football team (Portuguese: Seleção Brasileira de Futebol) represents Brazil in international men's association football. Brazil is administered by the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), the governing body for football in Brazil. They have been a member of the FIFA since 1923 and member of the CONMEBOL since 1916. Brazil is the most successful national team in the FIFA World Cup, the main football international competition, being crowned winner five times: 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002. Brazil also has the best overall performance in the World Cup, both in proportional and absolute terms, with a record of 70 victories in 104 matches played, 119 goal difference, 227 points, and 17 losses. Brazil is the only national team to have played in all World Cup editions without any absence nor need for playoffs.The seleção is likewise the most successful national team in the FIFA Confederations Cup with four titles: 1997, 2005, 2009 and 2013. In relation to ranking standings Brazil fare well, having the all-time highest average football Elo Rating, and the third all time highest football Elo Rating established in 1962, only behind the Hungary Golden Team of 1954 and the German team of 2014. Many commentators, experts and former players have considered the Brazil team of 1970 to be the greatest football team ever; while other Brazilian teams are also highly estimated and regularly appear listed among the best teams of all time, such as the Brazil teams of 1958-62, with honorary mentions for the gifted 1982 side. Brazil is the only national team to have won the World Cup on four different continents: once in Europe (1958 Sweden), once in South America (1962 Chile), twice in North America (1970 Mexico and 1994 United States) and once in Asia (2002 Korea/Japan). They share with France, Argentina and Germany the feat to have won the three most important men's football titles recognized by FIFA: the World Cup, the Confederations Cup, and the Olympic tournament. They also share with Spain a record of 35 consecutive matches undefeated. A common quip about football is: "Os ingleses o inventaram, os brasileiros o aperfeiçoaram" (The English invented it, the Brazilians perfected it).
The France national football team (French: Équipe de France de football) represents France in international football. The team's colours are blue, white and red, and the coq gaulois its symbol. France are colloquially known as Les Bleus (The Blues). France play home matches at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, Paris, and the current manager is Didier Deschamps. They have won one FIFA World Cup, two UEFA European Football Championships, an Olympic tournament, and two FIFA Confederations Cups. France experienced much of its success in three major eras: in the 1950s, 1980s, and late 1990s/early 2000s respectively, which resulted in numerous major honours. France was one of the four European teams that participated in the inaugural World Cup in 1930 and, although having been eliminated in the qualification stage six times, is one of only three teams that have entered every World Cup cycle. In 1958, the team, led by Raymond Kopa and Just Fontaine, finished in third place at the FIFA World Cup. In 1984, France, led by Ballon d'Or winner Michel Platini, won UEFA Euro 1984. Under the leadership of Didier Deschamps and three-time FIFA World Player of the Year Zinedine Zidane, France won the FIFA World Cup in 1998. Two years later, the team triumphed at UEFA Euro 2000. France won the Confederations Cup in 2001 and 2003, and reached the final of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, which it lost 5–3 on penalties to Italy. The team also reached the final of UEFA Euro 2016, where they lost 1–0 to Portugal in extra time. France, Germany, Argentina and Brazil are the only national teams that have won the three most important men's titles recognized by FIFA: the World Cup, the Confederations Cup, and the Olympic tournament. They have also won their respective continental championship (Copa América for Argentina and Brazil, and UEFA European Championship for France and Germany)
The England national football team represents England in international football and is controlled by The Football Association, the governing body for football in England. England are one of the two oldest national teams in football; alongside Scotland, whom they played in the world's first international football match in 1872. England's home ground is Wembley Stadium, London, and their headquarters is at St George's Park, Burton upon Trent. The teams current manager is Gareth Southgate. Although part of the United Kingdom, England has always had a representative side that plays in major professional tournaments, though not in the Olympic Games, as the IOC has always recognised United Kingdom representative sides. England contest the FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Championship, which alternate biennially. Any one of these tournament victories after 1992 would mean England would also contest the FIFA Confederations Cup, however they are yet to qualify for this tournament. In contesting for the World Cup seventeen times over the past sixty-four years, England won the 1966 World Cup, when they hosted the finals, and finished fourth in 1990. England have never won the European Championship – after fifteen attempts over fifty-six years – with their best performances being semi-finals appearances at the 1968 and 1996 Championships, the latter of which they hosted.
The Belgian national football team (Dutch: Belgisch voetbalelftal, French: Équipe de Belgique de football) has officially represented Belgium in association football since their maiden match in 1904. The squad is under the global jurisdiction of FIFA and is governed in Europe by UEFA—both of which were co-founded by the Belgian team's supervising body, the Royal Belgian Football Association (RBFA). Periods of regular Belgian representation at the highest international level, from 1920 to 1938, from 1970 to 2002 and again from 2014 onwards, have alternated with mostly unsuccessful qualification rounds. Most of Belgium's home games are played at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels. Belgium's national team has participated in three quadrennial major football competitions. It appeared in the end stages of twelve FIFA World Cups and five UEFA European Football Championships, and featured at three Olympic football tournaments, including the 1920 Olympic tournament which they won. Other notable performances are victories over four reigning world champions—West Germany, Brazil, Argentina and France—between 1954 and 2002. Belgium has long-standing football rivalries with its Dutch and French counterparts, having played both teams nearly every year from 1905 to 1967. The squad has been known as the Red Devils since 1906; its fan club is named "1895". During the national player career of forward Paul Van Himst, the most-praised Belgian footballer of the 20th century, Belgium took third place at Euro 1972. After that, they experienced two golden ages with many gifted players. In the first period, which lasted from the 1980s to the early 1990s, the team finished as runners-up at Euro 1980 and fourth in the 1986 World Cup. In the second, under guidance of Marc Wilmots in the 2010s, Belgium topped the FIFA World Rankings for the first time in November 2015. Belgium qualified for the next World Cup, in 2018, and will thereafter participate in League A of the first UEFA Nations League edition.
The Argentina national football team (Spanish: Selección de fútbol de Argentina) represents Argentina in football and is controlled by the Argentine Football Association (AFA), the governing body for football in Argentina. Argentina's home stadium is Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti in Buenos Aires. La Selección (national team), also known as the Albicelestes , has appeared in five World Cup finals, including the first final in 1930, which they lost 4–2 to Uruguay. Argentina won in their next final appearance in 1978, beating the Netherlands at extra time, 3–1. Argentina, led by Diego Maradona won again in 1986, a 3–2 victory over West Germany. They again made the World Cup finals in 1990, and lost 1–0 to West Germany following a controversial penalty call in the 87th minute. Argentina, led by Lionel Messi made their fifth appearance in a World Cup final in 2014, again losing to Germany, 1–0 during extra-time. Argentina's World Cup winning managers are César Luis Menotti in 1978, and Carlos Bilardo in 1986. Argentina has been very successful in the Copa América, winning it 14 times and also winning the 'extra' South American Championships in 1941, 1945 and 1946. The team also won the 1992 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 1993 Artemio Franchi Trophy. The Argentine olympic team won the Olympics football tournaments in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008. Argentina, Brazil, Germany and France are the only national teams that have won the three most important men's titles recognized by FIFA: the World Cup, the Confederations Cup, and the Olympic tournament. They have also won their respective continental championship (Copa América for Argentina and Brazil, and UEFA European Championship for Germany and France). Argentina is known for having rivalries with Brazil, Uruguay, England and Germany due to historic occurrences with one another throughout football history.
The Germany national football team (German: Die deutsche Fußballnationalmannschaft or just Die Mannschaft) is the men's football team that has represented Germany in international competition since 1908. It is governed by the German Football Association (Deutscher Fußball-Bund), founded in 1900. Ever since the DFB was reinaugurated in 1949 the team has represented the Federal Republic of Germany. Under Allied occupation and division, two other separate national teams were also recognised by FIFA: the Saarland team representing the Saarland (1950–1956) and the East German team representing the German Democratic Republic (1952–1990). Both have been absorbed along with their records by the current national team. The official name and code "Germany FR (FRG)" was shortened to "Germany (GER)" following the reunification in 1990. Germany is one of the most successful national teams in international competitions, having won a total of four World Cups (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014), three European Championships (1972, 1980, 1996), and one Confederations Cup (2017). They have also been runners-up three times in the European Championships, four times in the World Cup, and a further four third-place finishes at World Cups.East Germany won Olympic Gold in 1976. Germany is the only nation to have won both the men's and women's World Cups and after the 2017 Confederations Cup it became one of the only four nations - alongside Brazil, Argentina and France - to win all three most important men's titles recognized by FIFA: the World Cup, the Confederations Cup, and the Olympic tournament. They have also won their respective continental championship (Copa América for Argentina and Brazil, and UEFA European Championship for France and Germany). At the end of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Germany earned the highest Elo rating of any national football team in history, with a record 2205 points. Germany is also the only European nation that has won a FIFA World Cup in the Americas. The current manager of the national team is Joachim Löw.
The Spain national football team (Spanish: Selección de fútbol de España)[a] represents Spain in men's International association football and is controlled by the Royal Spanish Football Federation, the governing body for football in Spain. The current head coach is Julen Lopetegui after Vicente del Bosque stepped down following Euro 2016. The Spanish side is commonly referred to as La Roja ("The Red [One]"), La Furia Roja ("The Red Fury"), La Furia Española ("The Spanish Fury") or simply La Furia ("The Fury").Spain became a member of FIFA in 1904 even though the Spanish Football Federation was first established in 1909. Spain's national team debuted in 1920. Since then, the Spanish national team has participated in a total of 14 of 20 FIFA World Cups and 10 of 15 UEFA European Championships. Spain are one of eight national teams to have been crowned FIFA World Cup champions, having won the 2010 tournament in South Africa, defeating the Netherlands 1–0 to become the first European team to win the title outside Europe as well as having won back-to-back European titles in Euro 2008 and Euro 2012, defeating Germany and Italy in the respective finals. These three successive titles make them the only national team so far with three consecutive wins of either the applicable continental championship or the World Cup. From 2008 to 2013, a six-year span, the national team won FIFA Team of the Year, the second-most of any nation, behind only Brazil. Between November 2006 and June 2009, Spain went undefeated for a record-equalling 35 consecutive matches before their upset loss to the United States, a record shared with Brazil. The team's achievements have led many commentators, experts and former players to consider the 2010 and 2012 Spanish sides among the best ever international sides in world football
The Colombia national football team (Spanish: Selección de fútbol de Colombia) represents Colombia in international football competitions and is overseen by the Colombian Football Federation. It is a member of the CONMEBOL and is currently ranked thirteenth in the FIFA World Rankings. The team are nicknamed Los Cafeteros due to the coffee production in their country. Since the mid-1980s, the national team has been a symbol fighting the country's negative reputation. This has made the sport popular and made the national team a sign of nationalism, pride and passion for many Colombians worldwide. Colombia is known for having a passionate fan base. Colombia had its strongest period during the 1990s. A 1993 match resulted in a 0–5 win over Argentina which began a special "mutual respect" rivalry between both nations.The goalkeeper René Higuita achieved fame from his eccentric scorpion kick clearance against England at Wembley Stadium in 1995. Stars from Colombia's team included Carlos Valderrama and Faustino Asprilla. During this era Colombia qualified for the 1990, 1994, and 1998 World Cups, only reaching the second round in 1990. Following the death of Andrés Escobar after the 1994 World Cup, Colombia's team faded in the latter half of the 1990s. They were the champions of the 2001 Copa América, which they hosted and set a new Copa América record of conceding no goals and winning each match. Prior to that success, they were runners-up to Peru in the 1975 Copa América. In total, Colombia has gained a top four result in seven Copa Américas. Colombia was the first team to win FIFA best mover in 1993 where the achievement was first introduced and the second team after Croatia to win it twice in 2012. Colombia missed three World Cups between 2002 and 2010. During the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, Colombia showed improvement over the 2011 Copa América, bringing its rank up to the top ten for the first time since 2002 and into the top five consistently for the first time since 2004. After a 16-year-long wait, in 2014 Colombia finally returned to the World Cup, where they were able to advance to the quarter-finals, the furthest Colombia has ever made it in a World Cup. Colombia's midfielder James Rodríguez won two awards, the Golden Boot for most goals (6) and Best Goal of the Tournament. The 1962 World Cup match against the Soviet Union finished in a 4–4 tie after Colombia had been down 4–1, making it one of the biggest comebacks in World Cup history. In that game, Colombia also scored a direct corner kick goal, also making it the only direct corner kick goal in World Cup history.
The Portugal national football team (Portuguese: Seleção Portuguesa de Futebol, pronounced [sɨlɛˈsɐ̃w puɾtuˈgezɐ dɨ futɨˈbɔl]) represents Portugal in international men's association football competition since 1921. It is controlled by the Portuguese Football Federation, the governing body for football in Portugal. Portugal's first participation in a major tournament finals, at the 1966 FIFA World Cup, saw a team featuring famed striker Eusébio finish in third place. The next two times Portugal qualified for the World Cup finals were in 1986 and 2002, going out in the first round both times. Portugal also made it to the semi-finals of the UEFA Euro 1984 final tournament, losing 3–2 after extra time to the hosts and eventual winners France. The team reached the semi-finals of Euro 2000, the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2012, as well as the final of Euro 2004, the latter on home soil. At Euro 2016, Portugal won its first ever major trophy, defeating hosts France 1–0 after extra time, with the winning goal scored by Eder. With the win, Portugal qualified and made its first appearance in the FIFA Confederations Cup held in Russia, where they finished third. The team's home stadium is the Estádio Nacional, in Oeiras, although most of their home games are frequently played in other stadia across the country. The current head coach is Fernando Santos and the captain is Cristiano Ronaldo, who holds the team records for most caps and goals.
The Uruguay national football team represents Uruguay in international association football and is controlled by the Uruguayan Football Association, the governing body for football in Uruguay. The current head coach is Óscar Tabárez. The Uruguayan team is commonly referred to as La Celeste (The Sky Blue). The Uruguayan team recently won the 2011 Copa América. They have won the Copa América 15 times, being the team that has won the tournament on most occasions. The team has won the FIFA World Cup twice, including the first World Cup in 1930 as hosts, defeating Argentina 4–2 in the final. They won their second title in 1950, upsetting host Brazil 2–1 in the final match, which received an attendance higher than any football match ever. They have won the Gold Medals in football at the Summer Olympics twice, in 1924 and 1928 recognized by FIFA as World Championship, before the creation of the World Cup. Uruguay also won the 1980 Mundialito, a tournament among former World Cup champions. In total, Uruguay have won 20 official titles, a world record for the most international titles held by any country. Another unique achievement of Uruguay is that it´s the only nation in world football to organize multiple major international tournaments in own country and win them all. La Celeste won 7 Copa América tournaments, 1 World Cup and Mundialito, all staged in Uruguay. Their success is amplified by the fact that the nation has a very small population of around 3.4 million inhabitants (2011 est.). Uruguay is by far the smallest country in the world to have won a World Cup in terms of population, 1.75 million inhabitants in 1930. The second-smallest country, by population, to have won the World Cup is Argentina with a population of nearly 28 million people in 1978. Uruguay is also the smallest country ever to win any World Cup medals; only six FIFA member nations with a currently smaller population than Uruguay's have ever qualified to any World Cup: Northern Ireland (three times), Slovenia (twice as an independent FIFA member country), Wales, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Iceland.
The Russia national football team (Russian: национа́льная сбо́рная Росси́и по футбо́лу, natsionálnaya sbórnaya Rossii po futbólu) represents Russia in association football and is controlled by the Russian Football Union (Russian: Российский Футбольный Союз, Rossiyskiy Futboľnyy Soyuz), the governing body for football in Russia. Russia has appeared in ten World Cups and will host the tournament in 2018. Russia is a member of UEFA, they won the first edition of the respective continental competition in 1960 as Soviet Union (of which Russia is the successor). After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia played its first international match against Mexico on 16 August 1992 winning 2–0 with a team of former Soviet Union players, including some born in other former Soviet republics.
The Poland national football team (Polish: Reprezentacja Polski w piłce nożnej) represents Poland in association football and is controlled by the Polish Football Association, the governing body for football in Poland. Poland's home ground is the National Stadium in Warsaw and their current head coach is Adam Nawałka. One of the most renowned Polish teams was the one of the mid-1970s. Poland held England to a draw in a dramatic match at Wembley Stadium to qualify for the 1974 FIFA World Cup. Poland reached the semi-finals, where the deciding game against the eventual champions Germany resulted in a narrow 0-1 defeat. Just missing out on the final, Poland ended the tournament by defeating Brazil 1–0 to claim third place in the tournament. Striker Grzegorz Lato won the Golden Boot for his seven goals. Poland also finished third in the 1982 tournament, beating France 3–2 in the third-place play-off. Poland also won the gold medal in the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich; the silver medal in 1976 in Montreal; and a silver medal in 1992 in Barcelona. Poland first qualified for the UEFA European Championship in 2008. They also qualified automatically for Euro 2012 by virtue of being joint hosts alongside Ukraine. They finished bottom of their group on both occasions. Their first win in the Euros was on 12 June 2016 in a group stage match of Euro 2016 against Northern Ireland. Poland reached the quarterfinals, the team's best result. Poland is currently ranked at 6th in the world, one position below their all-time high from August 2017.
The Croatia national football team (Croatian: Hrvatska nogometna reprezentacija) represents Croatia in international football. The team is controlled by the Croatian Football Federation, the nation's governing body of football. A FIFA-sanctioned national side previously represented the short-lived Banovina of Croatia and Independent State of Croatia in nineteen friendly matches between 1940 and 1944.This team was dissolved in 1945 as Croatia became a constituent federal republic of SFR Yugoslavia. In the period between 1945 and 1990, Croatia was ineligible to field a separate team for competitive matches; local players instead played for the Yugoslavia national football team. The modern Croatian team was formed in 1990, shortly before Croatia's independence from Yugoslavia, and by 1993 had gained membership in FIFA and UEFA.The team played their first competitive matches in the successful qualifying campaign for UEFA Euro 1996, leading to their first appearance at a major tournament. In Croatia's FIFA World Cup debut in 1998 the team finished third and provided the tournament's top scorer, Davor Šuker. Since becoming eligible to compete in international tournaments, Croatia have failed to qualify for only one World Cup (in 2010) and one European Championship (in 2000). Most home matches are played at the Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb, with some fixtures also taking place at the Poljud Stadium in Split or at other, smaller venues, such as Kantrida Stadium in Rijeka or Gradski Vrt in Osijek. The team was undefeated in its first 36 home competitive matches at Maksimir, the run ending with a heavy defeat to England in September 2008. The team's traditional nickname is Vatreni ("The Blazers"). The team was named FIFA's "Best Mover of the Year" in 1994 and 1998, the only team—along with Colombia—to win the award more than once. On admission to FIFA, Croatia was ranked 125th in the world; following the 1998 World Cup campaign, the side rose to third place in the rankings, making it the most volatile team in FIFA Rankings history
The Serbia national football team (Serbian: Фудбалска репрезентација Србије / Fudbalska reprezentacija Srbije) represents Serbia in association football and is controlled by the Football Association of Serbia, the governing body for football in Serbia. With the national team nicknamed the Orlovi (Орлови, the Eagles), football has a long history in both Serbia and neighbouring countries. Serbia competed under the various forms of Yugoslav national teams, where it achieved considerable success, finishing fourth at the 1930 and 1962 World Cups respectively. Considered by FIFA and UEFA to be the successor of both the Yugoslavia and Serbia and Montenegro national teams, the achievements of the promising team of the 1990s which featured players such as Dragan Stojković, Dejan Savićević, Predrag Mijatović, Vladimir Jugović and Siniša Mihajlović was somewhat curbed due to international sanctions imposed against Yugoslavia at the time due to the Yugoslav Wars. Following the dissolution of Serbia and Montenegro, Serbia has played as an independent nation since 2006. Arguably the team's greatest success could be described as the 1–0 win over Germany at the 2010 World Cup, a campaign which eventually led to the team's elimination in the group stage. The home ground of the national team is the Rajko Mitić Stadium of Red Star Belgrade, located in Belgrade. Both FIFA and UEFA consider the Serbian national team to be the direct and sole successor of the Yugoslavia and Serbia and Montenegro teams.
The Iceland men's national football team (Icelandic: Íslenska karlalandsliðið í knattspyrnu) is controlled by the Football Association of Iceland. The team has enjoyed success in the second half of the 2010s. In the qualifying rounds for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Iceland reached the playoffs before losing to Croatia. Iceland reached its first major tournament, UEFA Euro 2016, after a qualification campaign which included home and away wins over the Netherlands. In doing so, they became the smallest ever nation to qualify for a major tournament. After advancing to the knockout stages of Euro 2016, Iceland defeated England in the Round of 16, advancing to the quarter-finals, where they lost to France 5–2. They became the smallest nation by population to ever clinch a FIFA World Cup berth when they qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup on 9 October 2017.
The Japan national football team (サッカー日本代表 Sakkā Nippon Daihyō) represents Japan in association football and is operated by the Japan Football Association (JFA), the governing body for association football in Japan. The current head coach is Vahid Halilhodžić. Japan is one of the most successful teams in Asia, having qualified for the last six consecutive FIFA World Cups with second round advancements in 2002 and 2010, and having won the AFC Asian Cup a record four times, in 1992, 2000, 2004 and 2011. The team has also finished second in the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup. Their principal continental rivals are South Korea and most recently, Australia. Japan is the only team from outside the Americas to participate in the Copa América, having been invited in 1999 and 2011.Although they initially accepted the invitation for the 2011 tournament, the JFA later withdrew following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. The Japanese team is commonly known by the fans and media as Sakkā Nippon Daihyō (サッカー日本代表), Nippon Daihyō (日本代表), or Daihyō (代表) as abbreviated expressions. Although the team does not have an official nickname as such, it is often known by the name of the manager. For example, under Takeshi Okada, the team was known as Okada Japan (岡田ジャパン Okada Japan). Recently, the team has been known or nicknamed as the "Samurai Blue", while Japanese news media still refer it to by the manager's last name, as "Halilhodžić Japan" (ハリルホジッチジャパン Hariruhojitchi Japan), or "Halil Japan" (ハリルジャパン Hariru Japan) in an abbreviated form
The Switzerland national football team (also known as the Schweizer Nati in German, La Nati in French, Squadra nazionale in Italian) is the national football team of Switzerland. The team is controlled by the Swiss Football Association. The team's logo, ASF-SFV, represents the Swiss Football Association's initials in Switzerland's official languages: ASF represents both French (Association Suisse de Football) and Italian (Associazione Svizzera di Football), and SFV is German (Schweizerischer Fussballverband). In Romansh, the association is abbreviated as ASB (Associaziun Svizra da Ballape). Its best performances in the World Cup have been reaching the quarter-finals three times, in 1934, 1938 and when the country hosted the event in 1954. Switzerland also won silver at the 1924 Olympics. The youth teams have been more successful, winning the 2002 UEFA European Under-17 Championship and the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup. In 2006, Switzerland set a FIFA World Cup record by being eliminated from the competition despite not conceding a goal, losing to Ukraine in a penalty shootout in the round of 16, by failing to score a single penalty – becoming the first national team in Cup history to do this.They would not concede a goal until their second group stage match in the 2010 World Cup, conceding a goal in the 74th minute to Chile, setting a World Cup finals record for consecutive minutes without conceding a goal. Switzerland co-hosted Euro 2008 with Austria, making their third appearance in the competition. As with the two previous appearances, they did not progress past the group stage.
The Costa Rica national football team (Spanish: Selección de fútbol de Costa Rica) is administered by the Costa Rican Football Federation (FEDEFUTBOL), the governing body for football in Costa Rica. They have been a member of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) since 1927, a member of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) since 1961 and a member of the Unión Centroamericana de Fútbol (UNCAF) since 1990. Costa Rica is the most successful national football team in the history of Central America. They have won three CONCACAF Championships (1963, 1969 and 1989) and a leading with eight championships in the Copa Centroamericana and its predecessor. Costa Rica is the only national team in Central America to have played in four FIFA World Cup editions. Costa Rica's national football team has the all-time highest average Football Elo Ranking in Central America with 1597.1, and the all-time highest Football Elo Ranking in Central America, with 1806 in 2014. Since the late 1980s, the team has continuously been visible as a solidly competitive side, with a prominent performance in the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy, making it to the knockout stage in their debut after finishing second in their group during the first phase, below Brazil. They also managed to qualify for the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups. In 2014, Costa Rica made their best performance in history by finishing first in their group that consisted of three former World Cup champions: Uruguay, Italy, and England. During the Round of 16 they defeated Greece 5–3 via a penalty shootout after a 1–1 draw. Reaching the quarterfinals for their very first time the "Ticos" were defeated by the Netherlands also in a penalty shootout (3–4) after a scoreless draw on 5 July.
The Sweden national football team (Swedish: svenska fotbollslandslaget) represents Sweden in association football and is controlled by the Swedish Football Association, the governing body for football in Sweden. Sweden's home ground is Friends Arena in the Stockholm urban area and the team is led by Janne Andersson. Sweden made their first World Cup appearance in 1934. Sweden has made eleven World Cup appearances and six appearances in the European Championships. They finished second in the 1958 FIFA World Cup, and third in both 1950 and 1994. Sweden's accomplishments also include a gold medal in the 1948 Summer Olympics, and bronze medals in 1924 and 1952. They reached the semi-finals in UEFA Euro 1992.
The Mexico national football team (Spanish: Selección de fútbol de México) represents Mexico in international football. It is fielded by the Mexican Football Federation (Spanish: Federación Mexicana de Fútbol), the governing body of football in Mexico, and competes as a member of CONCACAF, which encompasses the countries of North and Central America, and the Caribbean. Mexico's home stadium is the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, and the head coach is Juan Carlos Osorio. Mexico has qualified to sixteen World Cups and has qualified consecutively since 1994, making it one of six countries to do so. The Mexico national team, along with Brazil and Germany, are the only nations to make it out of the group stage over the last six World Cups. Mexico played France in the very first match of the first World Cup on 13 July 1930. Mexico's best progression in World Cups has been reaching the quarter-finals in both the 1970 and 1986 World Cups, both of which were staged on Mexican soil. Mexico is historically the most successful national team in the CONCACAF region, having won ten confederation titles, including seven CONCACAF Gold Cups and three CONCACAF Championships (the precursor to the Gold Cup), as well as three NAFC Championships, one North American Nations Cup, and one CONCACAF Cup. Mexico is the only team from CONCACAF to have won an official FIFA competition, winning the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup. Although Mexico is under the jurisdiction of CONCACAF, the national team has been regularly invited to compete in the Copa América since 1993, finishing runner-up twice – in 1993 and 2001 – and obtaining the third-place medal on three occasions.
The Iran national football team (Persian: تیم ملی فوتبال ایران, Tīm-e Melli-e Fūtbāl-e Īrān), also known as Team Melli (Persian: تیم ملی, translit. Tīm-e Melli), represents Iran in international football competitions and is governed by the Iran Football Federation. The national football team of Iran has been the highest-ranked team in Asia since December 2014 and is currently the 32nd ranked team in the world according to the latest FIFA World Rankings as of November 2017. Iran is one of the most successful national teams in Asia with three Asian Cup championships (1968, 1972, and 1976). Iran has qualified for the World Cup five times (1978, 1998, 2006, 2014, and 2018) but has never advanced past the group stage. Iran's only win in the World Cup has been a 2–1 victory against the United States in 1998.
The Panama national football team (Spanish: Selección de fútbol de Panamá) represents Panama in international football. The team is controlled by the governing body for football in Panama, Panamanian Football Federation, which is a member of CONCACAF and the regional UNCAF. Panama qualified for the FIFA World Cup for the first time for the 2018 tournament in Russia. Panama finished as runners-up in the 2005 Gold Cup and 2013 Gold Cup. Panama has also competed in the sub-regional Central American Cup championship which they won in 2009.
The Korea Republic national football team represents South Korea in international association football and is controlled by the Korea Football Association. Since the 1960s, South Korea has emerged as a major football power in Asia and is historically the most successful Asian football team, having participated in nine consecutive and ten overall FIFA World Cup tournaments, the most for any Asian country. Despite initially going through five World Cup tournaments without winning a match, South Korea became the first and currently only Asian team to reach the semi-final stages when they co-hosted the 2002 tournament with Japan. They have since improved their ability to play on foreign soil and were able to reach the Round of 16 in the 2010 World Cup. South Korea won the first two AFC Asian Cup tournaments though they have been unable to win since, finishing second in 1972, 1980, 1988, and 2015, and third in 1964, 2000, 2007, and 2011. They also took the gold medal at the 1970, 1978, and 1986 Asian Games. The team is commonly nicknamed "The Reds" by both fans and the media due to the color of their primary kit. The national team's supporting group is officially referred to as the Red Devils.
The Senegal national football team, nicknamed the Lions of Teranga, is the national team of Senegal and is controlled by the Fédération Sénégalaise de Football. It made its first FIFA World Cup appearance in 2002 and caused a huge upset by defeating World and European champions France 1–0 in the tournament's opening game. Senegal eventually reached the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup, one of only three African teams to do so (the first being Cameroon in 1990; the other being Ghana in 2010). In the group, after defeating France, they drew with Denmark and Uruguay, and beat Sweden in extra time in the round of 16, before losing to Turkey in the quarter-finals.Senegal qualified for the 2018 World Cup after defeating South Africa 0-2 on 10 November 2017. This marks Senegal's second qualification to the World Cup in their history. Senegal's first appearance in the Africa Cup of Nations was in 1965, when Senegal, after finishing second in their group, lost 1–0 to the Ivory Coast to finish in fourth place. In the 1990 Africa Cup of Nations, Senegal again finished fourth. Senegal hosted the 1992 tournament, in which, after qualifying for the quarter-finals by finishing second in their group, Senegal lost 1–0 to Cameroon. Senegal's best finish in the tournament came in 2002, when they lost the final on a penalty shootout after drawing 0–0 with Cameroon. Senegal has won the Amilcar Cabral Cup, a regional soccer tournament for West African nations, eight times, more than any other country, with Guinea in second place with five titles.
The Saudi Arabia national football team (Arabic: المنتخب العربي السعودي لكرة القدم) represents Saudi Arabia in international football. The team's colours are green, and white. Saudi Arabia are known as Al-Suqour (The Falcons), and Al-Akhdhar (The Green). Considered one of Asia's most successful national teams, Saudi Arabia have won the Asian Cup three times on (1984, 1988, and 1996) and qualified for the World Cup four consecutive times ever since debuting at the 1994 tournament. In the 1994 World Cup under the leadership of Jorge Solari and with talents like Saeed Al-Owairan and Sami Al-Jaber, reinforced by national veteran Majed Abdullah as team captain, Saudi Arabia beat both Belgium and Morocco in the group stage before falling to Sweden in the Round of 16. The team's continental success would fail to translate further to the international scenario, however, as Saudi Arabia was dismissed in the first round of the next three Cup tournaments, having failed to win any of their nine matches (with two draws - one in 1998 and another in 2006 - seven losses, four goals scored and 26 conceded). The team's relative lack of international notoriety is further compounded by laws that prevent players from playing for foreign clubs if they hold only Saudi citizenship, which is the case of a vast majority of the players.
The Tunisia national football team (Arabic: منتخب تونس لكرة القدم), nicknamed Les Aigles de Carthage (The Eagles of Carthage or The Carthage Eagles), is the national team of Tunisia and is controlled by the Tunisian Football Federation. They have qualified for four FIFA World Cups, the first one in 1978, but have yet to make it out of the first round. Nevertheless, they created history in that 1978 tournament in Argentina by becoming the first African side to win a World Cup match, beating Mexico 3–1. They also held defending champions West Germany to a goalless draw before bowing out. They have since qualified for three tournaments in succession, in 1998, 2002, 2006, and have qualified for the 2018 finals. Tunisia also won the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations, when they hosted the tournament.
The Egypt national football team (Egyptian Arabic: مُنتخب مَــصـر, Montakhab Masr), known as The Pharaohs, represents Egypt in men's International association football and is governed by the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) founded in 1921, the governing body for football in Egypt. The team's historical stadium is Cairo International Stadium but since 2012 the team has played most home games at Borg El Arab Stadium of Alexandria. The current team manager is Héctor Cúper. Egypt is the most successful national team in Africa, having won the Africa Cup of Nations on a record seven occasions: the inaugural edition in 1957 and on home soil in 1959, as well as the 1986 edition, Burkina Faso in 1998, 2006, Ghana in 2008 and Angola in 2010 edition. Egypt has also been as high as ninth in the FIFA World Rankings, making the team one of only three African national teams to enter the world's top ten. Despite their respectable continental record, Egypt has so far made only two appearances in the World Cup (in 1934 and 1990), failing to win a game on both occasions. The Egypt national team was the first African and Middle Eastern team to qualify for the World Cup. Egypt qualified for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and eventually finished runners-up after losing to Cameroon in the final. The tournament helped Egypt rise from 60 in December 2016 to 19 in May 2017 in the FIFA World Rankings. On October 8, 2017, Egypt qualified for the 2018 World Cup, their first appearance for 28 years and third overall.
The Australian national soccer team represents Australia in international men's soccer. Officially nicknamed the Socceroos, the team is controlled by the governing body for soccer in Australia, Football Federation Australia (FFA), which is currently a member of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the regional ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) since leaving the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) in 2006. Australia is the only national team to have been a champion of two confederations, having won the OFC Nations Cup four times between 1980 and 2004, as well as the AFC Asian Cup at the 2015 event on home soil. The team has represented Australia at the FIFA World Cup tournament on five occasions, in 1974 and from 2006 to 2018. The team has also represented Australia at the FIFA Confederations Cup four times.
The Nigeria national football team represents Nigeria in international association football and is controlled by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). They are three time Africa Cup of Nations winners, with their last title in 2013, after defeating Burkina Faso in the final. During April 1994, the Super Eagles was ranked 5th in the FIFA World Rankings, the highest FIFA ranking position achieved by an African football team. They have qualified for six of the last seven FIFA World Cups, missing only the 2006 FIFA World Cup hosted in Germany and have reached the round of 16 three times. They were the only African team to qualify for both the 2014 and 2018 tournaments. Their first World Cup appearance was the 1994 edition hosted by the United States.
The Morocco national football team,[a] nicknamed "Lions of the Atlas" (Arabic: أسود الأطلس / Irzem n Atlasi), is the national team of Morocco. It is currently managed by Hervé Renard. Winners of the African Nations Cup in 1976, they were the first African team to win a group at the World Cup, which they did in 1986, finishing ahead of Portugal, Poland, and England. They were also the first African team to make it to the second round, barely losing to eventual runners-up West Germany 1–0 in 1986. They also came within two minutes of moving out of the group stage of the 1998 World Cup, Kjetil Rekdal's late winning goal for Norway against Brazil eliminating them. Morocco qualified for the 2018 World Cup for the first time in 20 years.
The Peru national football team has represented Peru in international football since 1927. Organised by the Peruvian Football Federation (FPF), it is one of the 10 members of FIFA's South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL). The Peruvian team's performance has been inconsistent; it enjoyed its most successful periods in the 1930s and the 1970s.The team plays most of its home matches at the Estadio Nacional in Lima, the country's capital. Peru has won the Copa América twice and qualified for FIFA World Cup finals five times; it also participated in the 1936 Olympic football competition. It has longstanding rivalries with Chile and Ecuador.The team is well known for its white shirts adorned with a diagonal red stripe, which combine Peru's national colours. This basic design has been used continuously since 1936, and gives rise to the team's common Spanish nickname, la Blanquirroja ("the white-and-red"). The Peruvian national team took part in the inaugural FIFA World Cup in 1930 and enjoyed victories in the 1938 Bolivarian Games and the 1939 Copa América, with goalkeeper Juan Valdivieso and forwards Teodoro Fernández and Alejandro Villanueva playing important roles. Peruvian football's successful period in the 1970s brought it worldwide recognition; the team then included the forward partnership of Hugo Sotil and Teófilo Cubillas, often regarded as Peru's greatest player, and defender Héctor Chumpitaz. This team qualified for three World Cups and won the Copa América in 1975. Peru last reached the World Cup finals in 1982. Under the current management of Ricardo Gareca, Peru came third at the 2015 Copa América, reached the quarterfinals of the Copa América Centenario, and secured qualification for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.
The Denmark national football team (Danish: Danmarks fodboldlandshold) represents Denmark in association football and is controlled by the Danish Football Association (DBU), the governing body for the football clubs which are organized under DBU. Denmark's home ground is Telia Parken in the Østerbro district of Copenhagen, and their head coach is Åge Hareide. Denmark were the winners of the Football at the 1906 Intercalated Games and silver medalists at the 1908 and 1912 Olympics. However, as amateurs who prohibited their internationals from becoming professionals at foreign clubs, Denmark did not qualify for the World Cup until 1986, although they won another Olympic silver in 1960. Since 1983, the team has continuously been visible as a solidly competitive side, with the triumph in the 1992 European Championship in Sweden as its most prominent victory, defeating defending champions the Netherlands in the semi-final and Germany in the final. They also managed to win the 1995 FIFA Confederations Cup, defeating Argentina in the final. Their best FIFA World Cup result was achieved in 1998, where they narrowly lost 3–2 in a quarter-final against Brazil.
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