European Soccer Teams Compete for the 2018 World Cup

World Cup

On Sept. 4, 2016, the European national soccer teams will start to compete to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. For more than a year, 52 teams will compete to gain a spot in the final tournament that will take place in Russia, between June 14 and July 15, 2018.

The crews participating in the European qualification tournament are members of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). Besides Russia’s team, which is automatically qualified as host, 13 national crews can secure a place in the final tournament, along with 16 squads from the other confederations:

  • three from the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF).
  • four teams from the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL).
  • four from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
  • five crews from the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

Moreover, two teams will qualify for the final competition after an inter-confederation play-off slot. So, a total of 32 national crews will participate in the 2018 World Cup, which will be the 21st international soccer tournament organized by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA).

The European Qualifiers

The European national soccer teams will start competing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. The crews of the other confederations already started the qualification process. However, the UEFA teams will engage in the worldwide competition this fall, due to the European Cup that took place in France, between June 10 and July 10, 2016.

Between Sept. 4, 2016, and Nov. 14, 2017, 52 crews, split into nine groups, will fight for a spot in the final tournament. The UEFA Executive Committee established the qualifying format during a meeting, on March 22-23, 2015, in Vienna.

Qualification Groups

  • Group A: Sweden, France, Netherlands ,Belarus, Bulgaria, Luxembourg
  • Group B: Portugal, Switzerland, Latvia, Hungary, Faroe Islands, Andorra
  • Group C: Germany, Czech Republic, Norway, Northern Ireland, San Marino, Azerbaijan
  • Group D: Wales, Austria, Georgia, Moldova, Serbia, Republic of Ireland
  • Group E: Romania, Kazakhstan, Montenegro, Armenia, Denmark, Poland
  • Group F: England, Slovenia, Slovakia, Scotland, Lithuania, Malta
  • Group G: Spain, Liechtenstein, Israel, Italy, Albania, FYR Macedonia
  • Group H: Belgium, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Estonia, Greece
  • Group I: Turkey, Ukraine, Croatia, Finland, Iceland

2018 World Cup

The 2018 World Cup edition will be the 21st international soccer tournament organized by FIFA. It will take place in Russia, between June 14 and July 15, 2018. It will be the first tournament held in Europe since 2006. The defending champion is Germany. The team that won the previous competition, hosted by Brazil, from June 12 and July 13, 2014.

World Cup Statistics

Brazil is the national soccer team that won the most World Cup titles (5) since the competition’s first edition, in 1930. The runner-ups are Germany and Italy, each winning four trophies throughout their participation.

The German team leads in the top goalscorers ranking. The team’s representative, Miroslav Klose, is the player who scored the most goals (16) at the finals. Cristiano Ronaldo occupies the second position with 15 successes.

Awards

Besides the trophy obtained by the team which wins the final, there are several other honors awarded to the teams or players:

  • The Golden Ball: awarded since 1982, to the best player determined by vote of the media representatives
  • The Best Young Player: awarded since 2006, to the best player younger than 21 years old, determined by the FIFA Technical Study Group
  • The Golden Boot: awarded since 1982, to the player who scored the most goals.
  • The FIFA Fair Play Trophy: awarded since 1978, to the team with the best record of fair play, defined by a system of points and criteria established by the FIFA Fair Play Committee
  • The Golden Glove: awarded since 1994, to the best goalkeeper chosen by the FIFA Technical Study Group
  • The Most Entertaining Team: awarded since 1994, to the team that entertained the public the most, which is chosen through a poll of the general audience.
  • Since the 1998 World Cup edition, the organizers have announced an all-star team, consisting of the best players present at the tournament

Between Sept. 4, 2016, and Nov. 14, 2017, the European national soccer teams will compete to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. The competition will be harsh, as only the best teams will gain a spot in the final tournament, hosted by Russia.

By Bianca-Ramona Dumitru
Edited by Jeanette Smith

Sources:

FIFA: Europe – Road to Russia 2018
FIFA: Regulations – 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
UEFA: European teams learn World Cup qualifying fate

Image Courtesy of VOXSPORTS VOXER‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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