The finals involved 32 teams, of which 31 came through qualifying competitions, while the host nation qualified automatically.
Of the 32 teams, 20 had also appeared in the last tournament in 2014, while both Iceland and Panama made their first appearances at a FIFA World Cup.
Both Iceland and Panama qualified for the first time, with the former becoming the smallest country in terms of population to reach the World Cup.
The final took place on 15 July at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, between France and Croatia.
England, which was bidding to host its second tournament, was eliminated in the first round.
The English Football Association and others raised concerns of bribery on the part of the Russian team and corruption from FIFA members.
Construction of the proposed Podolsk stadium in the Moscow region was cancelled by the regional government, and also in the capital, Otkrytiye Arena was competing with Dynamo Stadium over which would be constructed first.
The final choice of host cities was announced on 29 September 2012.