FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) World Cup starts next week in Russia. We call it soccer but the rest of the world calls in football. You can find all kinds of facts and stats about the World Cup here.
When FIFA was founded in 1904, there were seven member countries: France, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Sweden and Denmark will be in the World Cup this year and are joined by Iceland. Norway and Finland will have to join the United States in the status of watchers rather than participants. Here is a quick look at each team:
Iceland is the big story, and the cover of TIME magazine this week, because they are the smallest country to ever qualify for the World Cup. Approximately the size of Kentucky and having a population slightly larger than St. Paul, Minnesota, Iceland is the underdog everyone is watching. A bar in Denver has had itself named the official bar for Icelander soccer fans in Colorado.
Iceland is in Group D along with Argentina, Croatia, and Nigeria. Their Viking chant is the same as Minnesota’s Viking chant but this is how it looks with 10,000 fans gather outdoors to cheer for their team:
Read more about team Iceland here.
Part of Group F along with Germany, South Korea, and Mexico. Sweden stunned Italy in a two-leg playoff (1-0) to advance to Russia and qualify for the nation’s first World Cup since 2006. When they won the Swedish fans sang Monty Python’s “Always Look On The Bright Side of Life” to the Italian fans.
Read more about Sweden here.
Denmark is in Group C with Australia, France, and Peru. Denmark erupted with five straight goals in its playoff with Ireland to earn the trip to Russia. You can see the highlights here:
Read more about Denmark’s team here.
FIFA World Cup can be seen on FOX Sports.
Who are you rooting for?