77 Days to go: League of nations set to grow

The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ is getting closer – 77 days to go!

In less than three months' time – on 14 June, to be precise – the 21st FIFA World Cup™ kicks off at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, as the hosts take on Saudi Arabia.

That leaves us plenty of time to enjoy a countdown. Between now and the start of the World Cup, we will take a closer look at a different statistic from the history of the tournament each day.

77 - the number of countries who have graced the FIFA World Cup™ at least once prior to Russia 2018. Thirteen of them took part in the inaugural world finals in 1930: Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, France, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Romania, USA Uruguay and Yugoslavia. Ten new countries joined the list four years later: Austria, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Every world finals since then has seen at least one nation make its debut on the global stage.

The only newcomer at Brazil 2014 was Bosnia and Herzegovina – though the country had previously been represented at the world finals by the former Yugoslavia – while Russia 2018 will see Panama and Iceland make their World Cup debuts.

There would have been one more nation on the list of world finalists had India made the trip to Brazil 1950. Despite qualifying for the tournament, the Indians decided against taking up their place for financial reasons and because they were not allowed to play barefoot, as was the custom in their domestic league at the time.