A total of 64 matches were played in 12 venues across 11 cities.The 2018 final took place on 15 July at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, between France and Croatia.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.Because of the controversy, the FA refused to accept Eckert's absolving of Russia from blame, with Greg Dyke calling for a re-examination of the affair and David Bernstein calling for a boycott of the World Cup.
The Portugal/Spain bid came second, and that from Belgium/Netherlands third.
Garcia, was withheld from public release by Hans-Joachim Eckert, FIFA's head of adjudication on ethical matters.
Eckert instead released a shorter revised summary, and his (and therefore FIFA's) reluctance to publish the full report caused Garcia to resign in protest.
It is the first time three Nordic countries (Denmark, Iceland and Sweden) and four Arab nations (Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia) have qualified for the World Cup.
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).