The highlight of draw ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup is the matching of teams against the others.
It is nine days to the Final Draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
In the first instance the 32 teams are broken into quartets of eight groups that will engage in a 48-match group stage before another 16-match knock-out stage.
In all, there will be 64 matches. But we can inform that some fixtures are often recurring. Till date, there have been 836 matches played since the World Cup kicked off on July 13, 1930 with a France versus Mexico encounter.
Out of the matches played so far, there have been a number of recurring matches and often featuring the same teams’ pairings.
We could recalls that top of such is the Brazil versus Sweden. This fixture had featured seven times in the past to rank as the most recurring fixture in the World Cup.
The last time the two clashed was however 23 years ago at the semi finals of USA ’94.
But this match up will not hold at Brazil 2014 since Sweden failed at the qualifying series.
Two of the seven clashes of Sweden and Brazil involved legendary Brazilian players.
The 1958 clash featured Pele who was then 17 and later became a major factor in the first of Brazil’s five titles to date.
Another recurring fixture involved Germany and the former Yugoslavia. None of the match-ups took place beyond the group stage.
The next recurring matches are Brazil versus Spain, Brazil – Czechoslovakia, Argentina versus Germany and Brazil versus Italy. The latter will not occur at Russia 2018 as Italy failed to qualify.
There have been five instances of those matches as well as Argentina versus England, France versus Italy, Germany versus Italy and Argentina facing Italy.
The pairings of Argentina, Brazil, Italy and Germany have produced six final matches and three semi finals. Brazil played Italy twice in the final while Argentina and Germany have also competed against each other twice in a final match.
Italy has played against past winners such as Brazil, Germany and France. Brazil and Germany have been to the World Cup finals more than any other country. Yet, the head to head clash of the two was a rarity until they met at the 2002 final match. The only other time they met was in Brazil 2014 when Germany humiliated their hosts, 7-1 in the semifinals.
With that, all the seven past winners of the World Cup have met. As for Nigeria, the commonest foe has been Argentina which the Super Eagles have faced on four of previous World Cup appearances. They met in 1994, 2002, 2010 and 2014.
Next among the teams Nigeria met more than one occasion are Bulgaria and Greece.
Nigeria met both twice. The Super Eagles beat Bulgaria 3-0 in 1994 and 1-0 in 1998.
Greece lost 2-0 to the Super Eagles in 1994 and had a sweet revenge of a 2-1 win in 2010. That was the first time Greece ever won a match in the World Cup. The second time was the defeat of Cote d’Ivoire at Brazil 2014.
Most recurring World Cup Matches are:
Sweden vs Brazil – 7 times
Germany vs former Yugoslavia – 6 times
Brazil vs Spain – five times
Brazil vs former Czechoslovakia – five times
Brazil vs Italy – five times
France vs Italy – five times
Germany vs Italy – five times
Argentina vs Italy – five times
Argentina vs Germany – five times
Argentina vs England – five times
Argentina vs Nigeria – four times