Everyone loves a good stat, right? Especially the modern football fan. The World Cup coverage will no doubt be awash with statistical titbits to tickle our fancies, so how about a few killer facts to whet the appetite?
Whether you’re picking a fantasy team, want to impress your mates or are browsing the odds on William Hill, Sky Bet and 888 Sport and want tips to help pick your player of the tournament, outright winner and dark horse, these numbers will be perfect for you…
£3 million: The highest salary for any manager at the World Cup – earned by Gareth Southgate and Joachim Low. Who would you bet on to be the best value for money out of these two?
5,678: The number of miles Egypt will have to travel in the group stages alone. Might that hamper the chances of us seeing Mo Salah in the knockout stages?
16: Manchester City have 16 players at the finals in Russia, more than any other club. Their rivals will be hoping that this slows down Pep Guardiola’s unstoppable side next season.
1962: Was the last time any team successfully defended the World Cup, when Brazil won the tournament in Chile. A bad omen for Germany’s chances this time?
Five: The number of consecutive World Cups Rafael Marquez will have played in for Mexico when this tournament kicks off. That leadership and experience might be the difference in helping Juan Carlos Osorio’s side get out of a tough group that contains Germany, Sweden and South Korea.
$4.87 trillion: The GDP of Japan, the highest of any nation competing at the World Cup. While money talks in football, you wouldn’t bet on that being enough for Akira Nishino’s side to make it out of a group containing Poland, Senegal and Colombia.
Four: If 38-year-old Tim Cahill scores for Australia in Russia he’ll join Pele, Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose in an exclusive club of men to net in four separate World Cup tournaments. That’s bound to be an attractive bet.
16: Poland’s Robert Lewandowski topped the scoring charts in the qualifiers with 16 goals in ten games. Might this be the 29-year-olds last chance to win a World Cup golden boot?
Three: Panama coach Hernan Dario Gomez leads his third different nation to the World Cup, having taken Colombia to France 98 and Ecuador to Japan and South Korea in 2002. He’s one of only four men to achieve this feat – and might that experience help the tournament debutants to spring a surprise or two?
92.55%: The percentage of accurate passes in the opposition half played by Fabian Delph last season, the highest of any player in the Premier League. Would Gareth Southgate’s side stand a better chance of success if he started?
Seven: The number of bookings shown to Argentina’s Nicolas Otamendi in qualifying. Expect him to attract the attention of referees this summer too.
37: The number of VAR cameras in each ground for the World Cup – the first in which video technology will be used. It’s a safe bet that VAR will be a key talking point in this tournament.