15 Because of the controversy, the FA refused to accept Eckert's absolving of Russia from blame, with Greg Dyke calling for a re-examination of the affair and David Bernstein calling for a boycott of the World Cup. For the firsttime since 1938, Germany (reigning champions) did not advance past the first round. 101 The Luzhniki Stadium also hosted the second semi-final on 11 July and the final on 15 July. The Portugal/Spain bid came second, and that from Belgium/Netherlands third. 98 99 On 1 December 2017, following the final draw, six kick-off times were adjusted by fifa. 44 Bracket Round of 16 17:00 MSK ( UTC3 ) 21:00 MSK ( UTC3 ) 17:00 MSK ( UTC3 ). Teams in each group played one another in a round-robin basis, with the top two teams of each group advancing to the knockout stage. The stadium hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics. 22 23 The first qualification game, between Timor-Leste and Mongolia, began in Dili on part of the AFC's qualification, 24 and the main qualifying draw took place at the Konstantinovsky Palace in Strelna, Saint Petersburg, on Of the 32 nations qualified to play at the. France won the match 42 to claim their second World Cup title, marking the fourth consecutive title won by a European team. On 9 February 2018, fifa announced the base camps for each participating team. Of the 32 teams, 20 had also appeared in the previous tournament in 2014, while both, iceland and, panama made their first appearances at a fifa World Cup. 58 Sepp Blatter stated in July 2014 that, given the concerns over the completion of venues in Russia, the number of venues for the tournament may be reduced from 12. 37 Officiating Main article: 2018 fifa World Cup officials On, fifa released the list of 36 referees and 63 assistant referees selected to oversee matches. Luzhniki Stadium in, moscow, between, france and, croatia. 39 Referee Fahad Al-Mirdasi of Saudi Arabia was removed in over a match-fixing attempt, 40 along with his two assistant referees, compatriots Mohammed Al-Abakry and Abdulah Al-Shalwai. 10 During the bidding process, the three remaining non- uefa nations (Australia, Japan, and the United States) gradually withdrew from the 2018 bids, and the uefa nations were thus ruled out of the 2022 bid. The 22-member fifa Executive Committee convened in Zürich on 2 December 2010 to vote to select the hosts of both tournaments.