A total of 64 matches were played in 12 venues across 11 cities.The final took place on 15 July at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, between France and Croatia.
Notable countries that failed to qualify include four-time champions Italy (for the first time since 1958), three-time runners-up and third placed in 2014 the Netherlands (for the first time since 2002), and four reigning continental champions: 2017 Africa Cup of Nations winners Cameroon, two-time Copa América champions and 2017 Confederations Cup runners-up Chile, 2016 OFC Nations Cup winners New Zealand, and 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup champions United States (for the first time since 1986).
This was different from previous draws, when only pot 1 was based on FIFA rankings while the remaining pots were based on geographical considerations.
However, teams from the same confederation still were not drawn against each other for the group stage, except that two UEFA teams could be in each group.
Russia won the right to be the 2018 host in the second round of voting.
The Portugal/Spain bid came second, and that from Belgium/Netherlands third.