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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.England, which was bidding to host its second tournament, was eliminated in the first round.The English Football Association and others raised concerns of bribery on the part of the Russian team and corruption from FIFA members.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.Of the 32 nations qualified to play at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, 20 countries competed at the previous tournament in 2014.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.
Players in the final squad may be replaced for serious injury up to 24 hours prior to kickoff of the team's first match and such replacements do not need to have been named in the preliminary squad.
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.
The bid evaluation report stated: "The Russian bid proposes 13 host cities and 16 stadiums, thus exceeding FIFA's minimum requirement.
Three of the 16 stadiums would be renovated, and 13 would be newly constructed." In October 2011, Russia decreased the number of stadiums from 16 to 14.
As such, there were eventually four bids for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, two of which were joint bids: England, Russia, Netherlands/Belgium, and Portugal/Spain.