An insight into the types of people who bet on sport and the sheer sums of money involved in the multi-billion-pound business.
Andrew Herdman: Top-level coaches who have been knocked out in the group stage should take care not to take this personally. It’s the way the game is. All coaches get it wrong. The World Cup tends to have a fair few things that don’t work. It’s just that the bigger and more ambitious teams are more likely to be the victims.
Bernard Conti: As a chief executive, I had to look after 20,000 people, and 1,000 of them were ready to jump on my shoulders and lynch me if I lost. I remember Paul Allen asking me, when he was Microsoft’s chairman, “Will you pick up a losing bet for me?” I remember thinking, “No, you’re not paying me enough to make sure we win!” We were in Colombia in 1994 and got beat by Japan – 2-1. As soon as it was over, the manager flew in, black leather jacket and all, and sat down in front of me and asked, “Who’s next?” It was Steve McClaren.
Find out more
Some of the tournament’s biggest cultural stories will be covered by our World Cup history team in a series of blogs, revealing the untold stories behind moments in the history of the tournament, and how they have shaped the present day. And you can discover what it was like to cover the 2015 tournament for the BBC – an exclusive insight into the action, with insights from the BBC’s World Cup 2018 team, including presenters Gary Lineker, Jacqui Oatley and Mark Chapman.
We’ll also be asking readers to nominate their favourite World Cup moments, from a big sporting moment to the country that won the competition. We’ll publish the best answers in a special series of stories in the build-up to the tournament – and you can also vote for your favourite here.
Brazil’s Fred celebrates scoring against Greece during the 1970 World Cup – despite his team’s exit he was hailed as a hero, because he had promised his wife he would make her an anniversary cake, which she had never got
And as well as its sports coverage, the BBC’s World Service will also be talking about all things World Cup.
For radio, the World Service will be airing an extended version of our popular weekly news programme World, sharing stories from the BBC archives as well as focusing on the latest news about Russia.
And for those seeking a global perspective on the tournament, an extended version of the World Service’s daily Newshour will be available from the eve of the tournament.
The eight-part series will feature interviews with leading journalists, politicians, and analysts, giving listeners a complete overview of the issues and features set to define the 2018 World Cup.