The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia is just a few short weeks away. If you haven’t yet, you should be marketing the World Cup to your guests right now to build up anticipation.

To get your sports bar ready, here are six infographics detailing what you and your guests can expect from the World Cup this year. Share ’em with your staff so they continue to be sports experts for your guests, and share ’em on your website and social media to garner up some conversation with guests and soccer fans.

1. The 32 Teams That Reached The 2018 World Cup

It’s been a long road but World Cup qualifying has ended and we now know all 32 soccer teams who will compete at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Peru and Australia were the last two teams to make it, qualifying on the final day through the intercontinental playoff.

The following infographic shows the teams that made it, as well as their current FIFA ranking. Defending champions Germany are going to be the team to beat next summer while Brazil, Spain, Argentina and France are also highly fancied. On the road to Russia, Germany played 10 games and won all of them, scoring 43 times in the process. The tournament will also be missing some big names. The Netherlands will be staying at home while Italy also missed out on a place at the World Cup for the first time since 1958.

Infographic: The 32 Teams That Reached The 2018 World Cup | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

2. Soccer Superpowers That Missed the World Cup

As the final whistle blew on the 0-0 draw, the tears started to flow. Italy had failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup for the first time since 1958. After their poor showing in the group stages in 2014, only finishing above a dismal England, the Azzurri now have to come to terms with the end of an era. Talisman goalkeeper and 2006 World Cup winner Gianluigi Buffon announced after the game that he is retiring from international football along with fellow members of the old guard, Daniele De Rossi and Andrea Barzagli.

It won’t help ease the pain felt in Italy today, but as our infographic shows, they’re far from alone in failing to get to the finals. Of the teams that can be safely considered as “superpowers,” the Netherlands top the heartbreak table, having missed out on a trip to the World Cup a total of 8 times – including the tournament in Russia next year. Argentina came close to missing out this time round but managed to avoid adding to their 1970 disappointment. Of the eight teams featured here, only Brazil and the current world champions Germany don’t know the bitter taste of a qualification knock out, having made it through to the finals at every attempt so far.

Infographic: Soccer Superpowers That Missed the World Cup | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

3. Iceland Is The Smallest Nation To Reach The World Cup

People in Iceland are looking forward to another summer packed with thrilling action on the soccer field after their national team qualified for the 2018 World Cup last night. Iceland beat Kosovo 2-0, securing the precious ticket to the tournament in Russia, continuing one of soccer’s greatest fairytales. Iceland’s emergence as a soccer power has been surprising given that the country only has a population of 340,000 people. Kosovo has a population nearly six times larger and it’s roughly equivalent to the number of inhabitants in Santa Ana, California. Despite its serious shortage in manpower, however, Iceland has managed to punch well above its weight on the soccer pitch in recent years.

The tiny nation’s remarkable performances can be attributed to a plan formulated almost two decades ago. That saw heavy investment in indoor sports complexes and heated pitches as well as a sharp focus on education and coaching in particular. That resulted in the country producing some 600 qualified coaches, 400 of whom have a UEFA B license, equating to one coach per 825 inhabitants. England has one coach per 11,000 inhabitants.

According to Yahoo! Sports, Paraguay competed in the 1930 World Cup with a population of 860,000 people. However, that tournament did not actually involve qualification so it is better to compare Iceland’s achievement with that of Trinidad and Tobago. The Caribbean island nation qualified for the 2006 World Cup in Germany with a population of 1.3 million people. As impressive as that achievement was, Iceland have made it to Russia with less than a quarter of Trinidad and Tobago’s population.

Infographic: Iceland Is The Smallest Nation To Reach The World Cup | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

4. The Footballing Diaspora

Football (or soccer as some like to call it) may not be the most popular sport in all parts of the world, but it is safe to say that it’s the most universally loved game on the planet. While ‘the beautiful game’ is particularly popular across Europe and in Latin America, it has followers in every corner of the planet with billions of people following major events such as the FIFA World Cup, which is about to kick off in Russia on June 14.

Being the global game that it is, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the search for the biggest talents of the sport has developed into an international egg hunt with clubs and agents alike trying to find the next Messi before anyone else does, and millions of players dreaming of making a living playing football. The dream of “making it” in football often involves moving abroad as local leagues, particularly in lower-income countries, do not offer nearly the same opportunities as European leagues do, both in terms of wages and international recognition.

According to a recent study conducted by the CIES Football Observatory, 24.9% of all players playing at professional adult level across Europe are expatriates, compared to 21.2% at the global level. As the following chart illustrates, Brazil has the largest footballing diaspora with more than 1,200 Brazilians playing professionally outside of their home country. Unsurprisingly, Portugal is the number 1 destination for Brazilian players as it allows them to make the move to Europe without having to deal with the language barrier as an additional challenge.

Infographic: The Footballing Diaspora | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

5. Brazilians Boast the World Cup’s Most Valuable Team

Brazil is sending the most valuable team to the FIFA world cup 2018 in Russia. German transfer market portal Transfermarkt estimates that the 25 players on the team have a combined market worth of 673 million euros. Germany and France share the second spot with 636.5 million euros each.

One big difference between the three teams is that of most of the Brazilian players don’t play in their home league (88%), while only 41.7% of the German national players are employed abroad and 58.3% of the French players score their income in foreign leagues.

England is in the top ten most valuable teams too. Its cadre is worth some 279 million euros. However, it’s one of the world cup teams with most players playing at home. Only 4.3% play on foreign pits.

Infographic: Brazilians Boast the World Cup's Most Valuable Team | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

6. World Cup 2018: The Worst Opening Game Ever?

Russia 2018 “The Tournament of Dreams.” So goes a slogan for the next FIFA World Cup. For anyone aside from Russia and Saudi Arabia fans though, the opening game of next years elite tournament looks more like a footballing nightmare. A far cry from the days where the current holders automatically kicked the tournament off, the two teams raising the curtain this time round will be the two currently lowest ranked in the whole competition.

When looking through the FIFA World Rankings back to USA ’94, you start to get some context for just how poor, at least on paper, this opening match-up is. When combining the world rankings of the participating teams at the time of the opening match, 2014 provided the most mouth-watering clash with Brazil (3) and Croatia (18) making a total ranking of 21. It’s also fair to say that this game lived up to expectations, with the hosts initially going behind early on before staging an impressive three goal comeback. In Russia though, the two teams combine to make a rank of 128 – the highest of the last seven tournaments. Of course, you don’t necessarily need big names and world beaters to make for a good game of football. We may well end up being pleasantly surprised come June 14 next year.

Infographic: World Cup 2018: The Worst Opening Game Ever? | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

Is Your Sports Bar Ready for the 2018 World Cup?

Be sure to check out our 2018 International Soccer Central to get the tournament schedule for your area, plus tips & ideas for marketing your sports bar during the tournament and building World Cup promotions.