2018 FIFA World Cup Seeding and Group Stage
Part 1

Four years after Australia put on a fabulous show for the World Cup, the tournament would return to Europe with it being held in Russia for the first time. The choice of hosts were though were filled with suspension due to politics and a series of doping claims relating to Russian sport despite winning the vote [1], many in the Russian media blamed years of negative attention on Russia were to blame for this.

Qualification would though bring a number of stocks such as for starters two of the final four, Netherlands and Chile, would fail to qualify [2] which would cause chaos with the seeding system as Columbia, the only other team other than 2014 winners Argentina to make the final four last time, would find themselves as the third placed ranked seeded team at the tournament. They weren't the only shock absences though, Italy failed to qualify after losing in a play-off against the Swedes [3], Yugoslavia would fail after a Play-Off with Scotland though this was thanks to certain events in the country that might had left the players having their minds thinking of other matters [4]...

Away from Europe, the failure of the United States to qualify was a shock to many [5] and their fans would have the frustration of watching the tournament from home. With that, things were going to look different for this World Cup though it did see the return of Peru after a long absence and the first appearance of Panama [6].

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Final seeding and pots for 2018 Draw
When the groups were arranged, many expected things to go rather the same with the all the seeded teams to go through, few expected how many shocks the 2018 World Cup would act out though [7]...


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Final results of Group A
When Russia were drawn with a group featuring Denmark, Senegal and Saudi Arabia, the hosts might have felt that they had gotten lucky and this was evident in the opening match when Russia would smash the Saudis 5-0 [8] and the draw the following day with Denmark and Senegal made many think Russia had a chance to go through, however this would go off the rails when they lost to Denmark, who went on to win the group as many expected, while Russia would only be able to muster a draw with Senegal, who went on to finish second [9], in which saw the hosts finish in third and failed to make the last 16 [10].


The Russians during their victory over Saudi Arabia...all before it went wrong...
Russia's failure to make it to the next round did not go unnoticed by many, mainly by the Western Media who took in some cruel joy at Russia's misfortune [11] and for many Russians that was the end of the World Cup for them. Despite that fact, there was still a long way to go just yet...


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Final results of Group B
From the get go in Group B, France were expected to walk the group and while they would win it, they started off on a rather flat note of only getting a draw with Australia before victories over Northern Ireland and Peru sealed their place into the next round. Australia would end up in second place though it would be seen as nervy games mainly with the game with Northern Ireland in which they had to come back from 1-0 down otherwise they might have gone out.


France vs Australia at the 2018 World Cup
Peru nearly made it through the group stage unbeaten had they held onto a draw with France but the latter would get a late goal to win the group while Northern Ireland would end up being a flop gaining only one point. Nonetheless it was a final group table that many felt was what many expected it would end up as. How far would either go into the rest of the tournament?


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Final results of Group C
Despite being World Champions, Argentina's nearly disastrous qualification campaign for the World Cup was well documented [12] though they were awarded what seemed like a decent group featuring Tunisia, Poland and Scotland. However things got off on the wrong foot as they could only get a draw with Tunisia in which they would have to rescue themselves with a nervy 1-0 victory over Poland before finishing with a brutal draw with Scotland, the latter who would win the group with the World Champions finishing in second place.


One shell-shocked Argentine team after their poor draw with Scotland
Perhaps the biggest disappointment in the group was Poland in which despite many thinking they would reach the knockout stage, they finished bottom of the group [13] and it was overall a bit a strange set of results that not many expected and despite them going through, few expected the champions do go far...


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Final results of Group D
It is always expected that no matter the situation, Brazil always win the group and when they saw who they had in the group they must have felt they would walk this. However things would go badly wrong in the opening match with Wales in which they lost and their hopes suddenly looked bleak. They would however record comfortable victories over Japan and Sweden as well as winning the group yet only on goal difference with the Welsh breathing down their necks.


One happy Welsh team after their victory over Japan books their place in the next round
The Welsh, still riding on their success at Euro 2016 [14], had gone into the World Cup feeling good about themselves and that victory over Brazil was a statement to everyone to show how serious they were. Question was though was if it was justified...?


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Final results of Group E
Group E was one seen by many as Spain and England being the two that would go through and that would be the case in what was otherwise a fairly uneventful group which the only thing of note was that Panama would play in their first World Cup though lost all their games. England were still reeling from an awful Euro 2016 experience [15] and needed a good run at the World Cup to put the misery behind them. Other than defeat to Spain in their second game, victories over Morocco and Panama would be enough to put England through.

England during their rout over Panama

Spain would win the group to perhaps the surprise of nobody though their final match with Morocco would be a nail biter as they came within minutes of beating Spain and it would only be a late equaliser that denied the Africans victory over Spain. It would be yet another story of what might have been though had they done so, they along with England and Spain would have all ended up with six points but Morocco's poorer goal difference would have doomed them either way. Oh, if only...


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Final results of Group F
Group F would record perhaps some of the biggest shocks in which despite the Germans going into this World Cup feeling like they could do this as they started off with a win over Iceland though it was a rather lacklustre performance. Things would go from bad to worse with a defeat to Mexico before their World Cup hopes ended in disaster with a shock 2-0 loss to South Korea [16] with the Mexicans winning the group and South Korea making it into second place.


A picture that tells you all you need to know...
The Germany the team would be treated as a laughing stock and certain historical jokes about Germans in Russia became widespread on social media and the less said the better [17]. For Mexico and South Korea, the two nations' fans would form an unlikely friendship from this and it was anyone's guess as to know how well both might do out in Russia.


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Final results of Group G
Group G would feature the up and coming Belgian team who, to everyone's prediction, won the group with ease but also became the only team in all the groups to win it with a perfect nine points. Also in the group were Uruguay, Costa Rica and Egypt, though the latter were expected to do well thanks to a certain Mohamed Salah in their team, but following an injury he suffered prior to the tournament his performance was far weaker than it should have been and the Egyptians would finish rock bottom with no points to their name [18].


A Belgian team with their job done
The team following the Belgians in second place would be Uruguay who's only loss in the group came of course to the Belgians losing 3-2 though it would be seen by many as one of the greatest games in terms of being frantic. Oddly enough while most eyes often look to either Brazil or Argentina, Uruguay felt that with the team they had they had a chance to being something of a dark horse...


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Final results of Group H
The final group would see 2014 third place winners Columbia in a group with Iran, Portugal and Nigeria. While Columbia would win the group as some predicated, many expected Portugal to also be going through however in keeping with shock results, that wouldn't turn out to be the case. The team making it into second place would be none other than Iran who would qualify after snatching a late equaliser in their final group game with Portugal [19] which dumped the Europeans out and saw Iran make it to the knockout stage for the first time in their history [20].


Iran players celebrate after confirming their place in the last 16
With that final shock result, the final 16 teams had made it through and it was fair to say that the usual suspects that many would expect to go through was something of a shock was an understatement, though for everyone else it made this World Cup feel more open and who knows what more shocks were to follow next?

  • [1] Despite the vote being more fairer much like OTL 2026 WC voting plan, there is still those problems associated with Russia much like OTL.
  • [2] Both fail to qualify like OTL.
  • [3] As OTL.
  • [4] To answer questions about Yugoslavia here, yes, in 2017 the country does eventual break apart, more peacefully thankfully, though only Slovenia, Croatia and North Macedonia are independent, the rest remains as a rump Yugoslavia state. Expect to see Croatia or Slovenia sometime ITTL soon...
  • [5] As OTL, though more so given how bigger the sport has become in the USA ITTL.
  • [6] As with OTL
  • [7] I think you all remember the shock results from OTL too...
  • [8] Same result as OTL.
  • [9] Senegal here DO reach the knockout stage and are not screwed over like with OTL, speaking of which...
  • [10] Yes, Russia goes out in the group stage here and are worse off from it.
  • [11] Sadly, you would possibly expect this to happen.
  • [12] Same problems as with OTL.
  • [13] Poland flop as per OTL.
  • [14] And guess how Wales did here...?
  • [15] Less said the better as you all know how things have ended up here...
  • [16] Yes, South Korea's glorious moment still happens here though even better as they get out of the group stage here.
  • [17] I think you all remember the certain jokes about Germans going into Russia...
  • [18] Yes, Egypt are no better here much like OTL.
  • [19] As per OTL.
  • [20] Certainly ITTL at least and yet to happen in OTL...
At last, the long awaited update and hopefully it was worth the wait. I have been busy with many other things such as my redux TL and other writing work. But as always, the final 16 fixtures as follows:
Denmark vs Australia

Scotland vs Wales

Spain vs South Korea

Belgium vs Iran

France vs Senegal

Brazil vs Argentina

Mexico vs England

Columbia vs Uruguay

So there we are, who do you think will win and why, always like hearing some more descripted answers such as predicted score lines and such :) Until then, catch you all later!
Denmark 0-1 Australia

Scotland 0-1 Wales

2-1 South Korea

2-0 Iran

3-1 Senegal

1-0 Argentina

1-0 England

Colombia 1-2 Uruguay
Denmark vs Australia

Scotland vs Wales

vs South Korea

Belgium vs Iran

France vs Senegal

Brazil vs Argentina

Mexico vs England

Columbia vs Uruguay
2018 FIFA World Cup Last 16
Part 2

In the first match of the round of 16 would see an all Celtic affair in Kazan in which Scotland would do battle with Wales. In days gone past, Scotland would ultimately be the team on paper to come out on top and they had given the Welsh a few bloody noses in that time, however this Welsh team was different after coming off from a high of Euro 2016 [1] and were willing to finally get one over the Scots who were coming into the game thinking that natural order would be restored. At first it did looked to be just that when Ryan Christie slotted home a penalty to give Scotland the lead...however the joy would be short lived as not long into the second half, Sam Vokes cancelled out the lead to make the game level.

Some happy Welsh players after Vokes' goal
The second half would be a role reversal in which after that goal, Wales were out for blood and would keep the Scots stuck in their own half for most of the second half. That being said as injury came about about with the score still at 1-1, extra-time was looming but it would be Gareth (hammer of the Scots) Bale who would break Scottish hearts everywhere with a freekick right at the death to knock the Scots out of the World Cup. Following the result, Scotland manager Gordon Strachan would resign [2] and for Wales, the party was only starting...

Later on that day would be a unusual matchup with Denmark and Australia and it was a game that Denmark started the brighter with Eriksen scored after just seven minutes but Australia would get back into the game with a penalty and from then on it would be a tense game in which neither could break the deadlock after ninety minutes and the game would move into extra time [3].

Denmark vs Australia in the last 16
It would be extra time in which things would turn on their heads as in the 98th minute, Tom Rogic would fire home the goal that confirmed Australia from coming from behind and from then on things got tense as the Danish players lost their heads from frustration and Rogic would end up putting the Danes out of their misery with the third and final goal to give Australia victory and onwards into the last eight.

The following day started off with Senegal, Africa's last remaining team in the World Cup, taking on the French. Not much was expected from the Africans but thanks to Niang, they would shock the favourites by getting an early lead and some felt that a shock was on the cards. However it wouldn't take long for France to score from a penalty and the first half ended 1-1 and still all to play for.


Happy French players
The second half would end up being a rout as two more goals from France would finally sink Senegal to give them a comfortable 3-1 victory and ultimately a game that no one would deny that France deserved the victory. Question was now if this French side could go all the way...?

Later on that day would see an epic clash of Brazil meeting arch rivals and current holders Argentina. Both sides hadn't really performed to the best of their abilities especially Argentina and both sides were under pressure to perform and this was reflected in the first half in which neither seemed to lay a glove on each other and the first half ended in a cagey 0-0 draw. No one knew who would come out on top.


Brazil vs Argentina in the last 16

The second half would be a different story as from the moment the deadlock was broken by Neymar for Brazil, there was only going to be one victor and another not long later from Firmino would see Brazil defeat Argentina 2-0 [4] and the latter's grip on the cup was ripped away and the hurt of losing it to their arch rivals was felt by many in Argentina and the question was simply now, 'what now?'

The following day would open with Spain taking on a plucky South Korea who after their shock victory over Germany were thinking that they had a chance to cause another upset on Spain. However reality would hit the Koreans in the face as the game would end up being a one-sided affair in which Spain controlled from the off and the final score would an easy 3-0 win for Spain.


Spanish players after their victory over South Korea
Despite the defeat, the South Koreans could go home with their heads held high that they had done better than what most expected from them and if they keep their up and qualify for 2022, who knows what the future might hold for them? For Spain, just another step closer to try and reach to the top once again...

When Belgium and Iran were drawn together, it was pretty much looking to be an easy victory for Belgium. That said, Iran were happy to finally make an appearance in the last sixteen for the first time [5] so not many were expecting much from them. That said they would frustrate the Belgians and against all the odds would stun the Belgians by going into half time with the score deadlock. Surely not...?


Iranian players prior before their match with Belgium
Amazingly, Iran held onto a 0-0 score line as it became clear that they were hoping to take the game to extra-time up until the last fifteen minutes when Belgium finally broke the deadlock and finally break hearts with a second goal in injury time. While it was a result that at face value would be a result that some expected would happen, Belgium did make heavy work of the game and there was a fear that this might come back to haunt the Belgians later one...

The final day of last 16 games would begin with Mexico locking horns with England. Curiously this would be the fourth time that the two nations would across each other and on all those occasions England had won all of them [6]. Despite England looking quite good over the Mexicans, it wouldn't be until a free kick headed on by Harry Kane in the twenty third minute of the game that would put England in front yet despite this there wasn't really much effort to show for England's efforts. Would that come back to bite them?


A smile from the goal scorer

The second half would finally see England get their second goal from a penalty scored by, who else, Harry Kane. However it would be a stunning volley from Hernández for Mexico, rather oddly, in the sixty-sixth minute that see Mexico begin to fight back and this would see England put under pressure and they found their lead threated. Sadly for the Mexicans their bad luck in the round of sixteen led to their downfall and once again England had gotten a victory over them to move on to the last eight...

The final group game would be an all South American clash with Columbia and Uruguay. However with all the typically rough South American play the game would end up being a infamous game in which the match would end up more like a fight club than a football game [7]. Uruguay would score first thanks to Cavani but after that it would be foul after foul until Columbia snatched a late equaliser by Mina to take this wretched man into extra time.

More than high kicks when these two come to blows...

Cavani would in the end be the one the help put Uruguay back into the lead that his goal would help his country win the game, however it would be a game remembered for six yellow cards and two sending offs from the Columbians who utterly lost their heads towards the end and with how rotten the game was, many were happy when it was over though it wasn't a good game to end the round of sixteen on.

With that, it was all over and strong looking last eight was beginning to take shape and who would end up coming out on top here...?

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Final results of the Knockout stage of the 2018 World Cup (A.N Yes I messed up with France vs Senegal, I'll fix it later)

  • [1] Guess how Wales did there ;)
  • [2] He resigned IOTL in 2017, here it is a year later.
  • [3] The first 90 mins of the game are much like OTL's group game with the two.
  • [4] Similar things to OTL, much like then Brazil won in the Ro16 2-0 and Argentina went out at the same stage.
  • [5] Iran do better here ITTL as you'll notice.
  • [6] If you look back on this TL.
  • [7] To give you an idea how bad the game is, it's like OTL England vs Columbia game though ten times more nastier as you can imagine.
So there we are, the long overdue update you've been waiting for. Hope you are all enjoying your day wherever you are and as always, the Quarter-final fixtures:
Australia vs Wales

Spain vs Belgium

France vs Brazil

England vs Uruguay
Who will win and by what score, pleased to see many on here got a fairly correct score line for most games. Until then, see you all soon!
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Well, giving a guess for winners and scorelines

Australia 0 vs 1 Wales

2 vs 1 Belgium

France 2 vs 2 (winning on penalties) Brazil

1 vs 0 Uruguay
Australia or Wales. Either works. Wales slight advantage because they're not English.
Idk who I hate less


The grand reveal from me, that I'm surprised if it hasn't be realised, is that I root for either Germany OR a "small" nation that hasn't won (or hasn't won in a long time). So either Germany or a spite vote basically.
Just caught up with this TL, it's very well done. :p

Given recent events though, between the failed Super League project and the next World Cup in Qatar, I wonder what would be the latest possible POD to make FIFA less of a corrupt mess; it almost feels like you'd need to catch several high ranking FIFA executives snort cocaine from the naked backsides of just as many elementary school boys to even do that.
Just caught up with this TL, it's very well done. :p

Given recent events though, between the failed Super League project and the next World Cup in Qatar, I wonder what would be the latest possible POD to make FIFA less of a corrupt mess; it almost feels like you'd need to catch several high ranking FIFA executives snort cocaine from the naked backsides of just as many elementary school boys to even do that.
Sadly much like OTL, FIFA does have some corruption ITTL however one positive is that members are allowed to vote on World Cup hosts much earlier than OTL. Not everything is perfect it must be said, though football is more popular than even OTL.
Sadly much like OTL, FIFA does have some corruption ITTL however one positive is that members are allowed to vote on World Cup hosts much earlier than OTL. Not everything is perfect it must be said, though football is more popular than even OTL.

Yeah, I was just wondering what POD (in general) could result in a less corrupt FIFA, the later the POD the better - as for the future, I'm hoping Qatar will be enough of a mess it'll make the whole thing crumble, but I'm not counting on it. Anything short of a committee of former players headed by a Roberto Baggio eager to rack up enough good karma to be reincarnated into a god in his next life taking over might not be enough. :p