How to get fit for the 2018 FIFA World Cup?
By James Taylor – 14 July 2018FIFA has announced a raft of changes to its official training programme in preparation for the 2022 World Cup in Russia.
As the tournament is due to be played in the summer of 2018, there are a range of new and potentially controversial aspects to the programme which the federation is keen to avoid in a bid to avoid the possibility of the hosts winning the competition.
The changes include the introduction of the World Cup 2018-19 Qualifiers and the introduction, as well as the World Cups qualifying system, of an extra 10 matches in each of the 10 qualifying rounds, which will see the top teams progress to the knockout phase.
The Qualifiers will also see players from the eight participating nations play one-off games in the group stage, the first time in the history of the competition that a group stage fixture has been played outside of a qualifying round.
The new qualifying rounds will see teams from the four participating nations face each other in the semi-finals, the quarter-finals and the final, with the final being played at a venue chosen by the host nation.
This will be the first-ever meeting between two of the top four European footballing nations in a qualifying match.
It is the first step in the process of the first World Cup Qualifiers for Russia.
The qualifying round will be played out on June 15-17 and will see 12 teams qualify for the tournament with the remaining six teams playing their quarter-final round fixtures at a stadium in St Petersburg.
A total of eight countries will play in the Qualifiers, with two from each of Russia’s four existing footballing regions.
These are: Russia, the United Kingdom and Portugal.
These will be followed by the four qualifying teams, with Portugal playing in their third qualifying round and Russia taking on Germany, Spain and England.
A group stage game will be hosted in Moscow and will be televised live across the globe.
The teams will play four matches in the opening round, with each game lasting eight minutes.
In the group stages, a top-four finish will determine the winner of the tournament.
This final round will see all the eight qualifying teams facing off in the fourth qualifying round, and will then be played at an arena chosen by each of those eight nations.
These four matches will be watched by millions of football fans worldwide, with a record-breaking number of people expected to tune in to watch the final.
The qualification round will kick off at 10:00pm local time (22:00 GMT) on June 16, with teams set to play a total of seven matches, with an eight-game knockout phase at the St Petersburg Arena.
The first eight qualifying matches will see Portugal v Germany, Portugal v France, Portugal vs Russia, Russia v Italy and Spain v England.
The final round of Qualifiers are due to kick off on July 3 and will take place at a time to be announced.
The host nations will be chosen by a jury of football experts and the winner will be crowned the host of the 2022 tournament.
The world governing body will host a special conference on the FIFA congress in the Swiss city of Zurich on July 19-20 to discuss the changes.FIFA said the changes are aimed at creating a more realistic and competitive competition for the 2026 World Cup.
The next World Cup will be held in Brazil, where it will take up to five months to prepare for the competition, the organisation said in a statement.