The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia will feature 32 top teams battling to be crowned as the best nation in the world.

Russia have qualified automatically as the hosts, with the other 31 teams decided by a qualifying process. The tournament begins on June 14, 2018, with the final scheduled for July 15 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

All 64 games will be broadcast live on television, ensuring fans can watch their favourite teams and players throughout the tournament. Brazil will be among the favourites, although Germany are likely to make a bold bid to retain the title they won in 2014.

How the World Cup schedule works

The qualification process determines which 31 teams will join Russia in the tournament. All 210 remaining FIFA member associations were eligible to enter the qualifying process, although Zimbabwe and Indonesia were disqualified before playing their first matches.

Qualification began in March 2015 and runs until November 2017. The World Cup schedule in Russia consists of 64 matches played in 12 venues across 11 cities, creating a festival of football that is the highlight of the FIFA World Cup calendar.

Schedule for the qualifiers

The qualifiers are split geographically, with Europe’s 14 places in the tournament the largest allocation for any region.

The World Cup schedule for European qualifying features seven groups of six nations and two groups of five. Russia qualified as hosts, with the group winners joining them automatically. The eight best runners-up face a two-legged play-off to secure their spot.

North and South American qualifying takes a different format, with all of the teams placed into two groups. Seven teams qualify automatically, with the eighth determined by a two-legged play-off.

Africa’s qualification process leads to five teams taking their place in Russia, with Asia guaranteed four places. The remaining spot is decided by a play-off between a team from Asia and one from the Oceania Football Confederation.

Schedule for the World Cup

The final tournament will involve 32 national teams playing a total of 64 matches over the course of a month. The winners will qualify for the 2021 FIFA Confederations Cup.

The host nation will kick-off the 2018 World Cup in Moscow on June 14. There will be eight groups of four teams playing a round-robin in the opening stage, with the top two in each progressing to the round of 16.

The tournament then becomes a straight knock-out, with the winners of each game moving on into quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final.

The schedule is as follows:

  • Group Stages: June 14 to June 28 (4 matches per day)
  • Round of 16: July 30 to July 3 (2 matches per day}
  • Quarter-finals: July 6 (2 matches) and July 7 (2 matches}
  • Semi-finals: July 10 and July 11
  • Third Place play-off: July 14
  • Final: July 15

Remember to follow before and during the tournament, as we bring you all the latest details on the World Cup schedule for England and the remaining 31 nations.