11 Random Facts About the Countries in 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and Some Smartass Prediction: Group G & H

Hi everyone!

So, the series of random facts and some smartass prediction for FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 is coming to an end with the last post of the series… This one. 😀

How do you find the series so far? I hope it’s entertaining if it helps you to gain a knowledge or two about some particular country that you may be interested in. And meanwhile, please bear with me because I’ve still got the last 2 groups in the competition to talk about in this post.

I’m so excited to wait for the opening ceremony in Moscow, and I hope you two are as excited as I am. 🙂 

11 Random Facts About the Countries in 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and Some Smartass Prediction: Group G & H - The BeauTraveler

FIFA World Cup 2018 – Group G & H

This is the group where the country that created this game is in, England.

Okay, I have to admit that I’ve never really been a fan of England national football team despite the fact that I was a big fan of Michael Owen before he started to act like a prick.

I often think that England has some kind of bad luck when it comes to football, and I never really find their national team great to watch despite the fact that I only watch English premier league in terms of the national leagues.

Anyway, in case you haven’t got any idea what countries are in both groups, this list is for you! 🙂

Group G

  • Belgium
  • England
  • Panama
  • Tunisia

Group H

  • Colombia
  • Japan
  • Poland
  • Senegal

The thing is, there are two countries that hit me a little way too personally: Tunisia and Japan.

It has nothing to do with the country, but I used to date a Tunisian guy for a couple of years and I had to break up with my ex-boyfriend during college when he had to relocate to Japan because I was too young and stupid to deal with a long-distance relationship.


Group G – Smartass Prediction & 11 Random Facts of the Countries

Everytime I meet anyone who’s not English but told me they’re a fan of English national football team, I always had to judge them a little. I mean, it’s either they don’t really understand football nowadays or they just hold on to dear life with their 1966 World Cup’s champion title.

On this group, most likely I’d like to see Belgium at the top of the table with some of their key players like Lukaku and de Bruyne. I mean, most of their players play in England so they know the characters while at the same time none of the 23 men in English squad play outside of it.

I was really expecting Radja Nainggolan made it into the squad since I’m an obnoxious Indonesian who thinks that him getting in the World Cup would have something to do with me because we share the same ancestor. *lol* 😛

And apart from that, the fact that Thierry Henry being the assistant manager got you some bias opinion from me as an Arsenal fan.

But seeing Panama and Tunisia, I think England could probably get away from the group easily. I mean, being such underdog teams, Panama and Tunisia could surprise us for sure.

But then again, I suppose they will play safe through defence playing against the big teams in the group. If anything, there are only two possibilities for them: they would either surprise us or be ready for such boring games.

1. Belgium

Brussels, Belgium – Source: Unsplash

I have mentioned it several times that I don’t really keep myself updated when it comes to football in the past few years. To be fair, I’m only familiar with probably ONE footballer that played in the past and it was Daniel van Buyten.

In terms of their country, so hard not to associate the country with either chocolate or that kid peeing statue. But I suppose this small country in the heart of Europe has a lot of things to offer, right?!

  1. Belgium has a few borders with at least 4 (four) countries: France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherland.
  2. Okay, this is a fact that I just found out in which I find interesting. We all know that so many women out there look up to Audrey Hepburn as a role model. You see, she was an actress who would become a diplomat later and all that. But did you know that Audrey Hepburn was born in Brussels, Belgium? And what I find interesting doesn’t stop there, because she was born as Edda Kathleen Hepburn-Ruston. Her father, Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston, had been an honorary British consul in Semarang, a part of then-Dutch East Indies. Some time in my life, I used to live in Semarang. And more surprisingly, Audrey Hepburn’s parents married in Batavia, a city that is currently known as Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia.
  3. Belgium has been producing chocolate for almost 400 years, when the first evidence of Belgian chocolate production dates back in 1635. Add the waffle, and you can have the most Belgian delicacy there will ever be… You can also check some other delicious Belgian foods you can try in Brussels some other delicious Belgian foods you can try in Brussels.
  4. Belgium became the second country in the world to legalize same-sex marriages in 2003. And of course, only second after the Netherlands.
  5. Euthanasia was made legal in the country in 2002. What side are you in this case? Pro or con?
  6. If you’re into spa or any kind of treatment to pamper yourself, just know that the Spa town in Belgium is from where we get the word ‘spa’. It is where the first modern health resort and casino in Europe opened in the 18th century.
  7. The city Antwerp in Belgium is known as the world’s capital of diamond due to the high level of diamond trade in the city.
  8. Karl Marx wrote The Communist Manifesto in Brussels in 1848 with Friedrich Engles, and a few years later the French author Victor Hugo also worked on Les Miserables while living in Brussels in 1851.
  9. Belgium was the “Battlefield of Europe”, due to the place where he was handed defeat in Waterloo which ended his attempt to conquer Europe. The Battle of Waterloo itself was fought on Sunday, 18 June 1815.
  10. The world’s first printed newspaper was produced in Antwerp, the newspaper was called Relation with Johann Carolus as the publisher.
  11. The Belgians are also accredited with the suggestion of the € symbol. And it was also Belgian Luc Luycx’s design that was chosen as the common sides of euro coins, in which you can spot his initials “LL” on all numerical sides of coins.

Also read: Good to Know when Traveling to Belgium


2. England

Big Ben, London, England – Source: Unsplash

Let’s be honest here, you probably watched the Royal Wedding last week.

And England, or at least London, is probably one of the places on your bucket list. Without even noticing it, you probably know a lot of things about England, perhaps even more than you expected.

So, what’s up, England?!

  1. Winston Churchill was surprisingly terrible at school, except in English composition and history. He failed twice at the entrance exams for the Royal Military College. This is a message for you who are not so good at school. One day you could fail some normie exam, the next thing you knew then bam… you’re a prime minister!
  2. In the last post of this series, you know that vampir is a word taken from Serbian. But now if you know the Romanian Vlad the Impaler, this was the person who rose to Dracula vampire story. But did you know that the High Majesty Queen Elizabeth II herself is actually related to him?
  3. British police do not carry guns except in emergencies, and yet they’re probably the best policemen in the world. Go figure.
  4. Okay, since I grew up with “London Bridge is Falling Down”, just know that it has been around for over 1000 years, since it may point to the many fires and collapses the bridge was prone to over the centuries, and take a dig at ‘my fair lady’ to Queen Eleanor who may not have made the best use of bridge revenues. Her reign ended in 1204.
  5. Talking about England, talking about tea. But did you know that Irish actually drink more tea than English people?
  6. Leicester actually has two syllables, but they didn’t even give Ranieri a second chance. This one is supposed to be a joke, but sorry not sorry, Foxes! 😛
  7. Winchester was the first capital of England to 1066. Winchester Cathedral has the longest nave of any medieal cathedral in Europe.
  8. Pyjamas is actually a Bengali word derived from Persian that eventually came into English language.
  9. This could probably be useful for yall crazy people like me, the English slang ‘schmuck’ which means stupid actually comes from the Yiddish word ‘shmok‘. Literally, it means dick.
  10. Now we all know that English national team would always be the Three Lions. But did you know that it actually has something to do with the Scottish national animal, which is the Unicorn? So, according to Scottish mythology, the Unicorn is the natural enemy of the Lion. Wow, with the referendum and all that… No wonder! 😛
  11. Just in case you think everything in America is local made, just know that even “The Star-Spangled Banner” was composed by an Englishman, John Stafford Smith.

3. Panama

San Blas, Panama – Source: Unsplash

Pretty much like Costa Rica, this is the kind of country that I only know by name but not so much about anything in it.

The only difference is that, neither I know anything about football in Panama because it’s gonna be their first time to get into the World Cup.

The Fortune Lady was on their side as they actually shared the same point with the USA. But again, if Portugal could win Euro with the most boring way possible, it’s only better if Panama could surprise us with the possibility of them winning in the first time they participate in the tournament. 😛

  1. Panama was the very first Latin America that uses US Dollar as their currency. Have you been to Panama? Does that make it have a relatively high living cost?
  2. John McCain was actually born in Panama, in the Canal Zone in which at that time was considered as US territory.
  3. Panama became the Spanish principal shipping point to and from Central and South America back to Spain during its colonial days.
  4. Panama had been a colonial settlement and they used to be a part of Colombia, where they became the land many governments wished to control. Today, it is an independent nation with a government that is a constitutional democracy.
  5. Panama exports bananas, pineapples, and watermelons. It also exports gold as well as iron and steel waste. In addition, they also export sugar and shrimp.
  6. This is probably the most interesting part about Panama that I have found on the internet. Did you know that Panama is the only place in the world where you can see the sun rise on the Pacific and set on the Atlantic? I could only imagine how beautiful the thought is. Here’s for the complete backpacking guide in Panama.
  7. Panama is home to the most diverse wildlife population of all the countries in Central America, with surfing and snorkeling on a sandy beach are also some of the activities that are popular among travelers. Since I’ve never been there, I honestly could think of Panama as the ‘Borneo’ part of America. That’s like the closest thing that comes in mind!
  8. Although many people in Panama are bilingual with their ability to speak both Spanish and English, Spanish is their official national language in Panama while in some areas, Amerindian dialects are also still spoken.
  9. Shirts and pants, or a dress should be worn in public as Panama enforces the law where bathing suits are strictly only for the beach.
  10. The Panama Canal was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914, in which The American Society of Civil Engineers eventually has named it as one of the modern world’s seven wonders.
  11. Panama City is the only capital city in the world that has rainforest within the city limits.

4. Tunisia

Tunis, Tunisia – Source: Unsplash

Despite the fact that I used to date a Tunisian guy for a couple of years, I actually never got a chance to land anywhere in Tunisia.

I mean, I know the obnoxious attitude the people have, thanks to my ex-boyfriend and so many Tunisian colleagues that I met in my previous job, but honestly… When it comes to the country, the only thing I know about it is the location related to Star Wars.

I’m not a hardcore Star Wars fan, but well… Another thing I know about Tunisia is some random stuff about Carthage.

  1. Tunisia is the most northern country in the whole of Africa that my ex once told me that there’s an area in Tunisia that only takes around 30 minutes by ship to across to the edge of Europe. I forgot the name of the area, and I’ve moved on from my former lover so I didn’t have time to actually ask. Googling didn’t help in this case. *lol*
  2. Polygamy is forbidden in Tunisia, according to their law. The funny thing is that I didn’t know this when I was dating my ex and I often had to give him a silence treatment for his joke about he could marry 4 women. If I knew this earlier, I would have told him I could get him behind the bar. Yo, bara naik ya Mohamed! 😐
  3. It is so hard not to move from my ex’s image when Kairouan, which is his hometown, turns out to be the forth most important city in the Muslim world after Mecca, Medinah and Jerusalem. The city played such a big role in the spread of Islam in Africa and the Western world.
  4. For all Star Wars geeks out there, you probably know by now that some scenes on The Phantom of Menace were taken in Tunisia. The shooting of the Tatooine took place in the southern part of Tunisia, and again according to my ex, the rate to stay at the hotel is so cheap that it’s probably less than $20 USD per night.
  5. Cape Angela is the northernmost part of Tunisia, which makes it also the northernmost part of Africa continent.
  6. Other than Star Wars, there are some other Hollywood movies in which some settings were located in Tunisia. To name a few, there is Jesus the Nazareth and Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  7. While most parts of the world wear black as a sign of mourning, Tunisian people wear bright colors instead.
  8. The French colonized the country in 1881 and the language is still learned at school until today. Most Tunisians are bilingual, and the pick-up line that got me to say yes to my ex’s invitation for a date is this, “Imagine if we get married, our kids would be beautiful. If he was a boy, he would be chubby and funny like his dad. And if she was a girl, she would get slanted eyes and be pretty like her mom. Also, they will speak at least 4 languages. Arabic, French, Indonesian and English.” What the heck, I still remember where this scene was set. The R4 door in a 747-400 on the way to Lahore.
  9. The name is Tunisia was taken from the capital city itself, Tunis.
  10. Most of the Tunisian population are Arab-Berber.
  11. Tunisia is the smallest country in the Northwestern of Africa.

Group H – Smartass Prediction & 11 Random Facts of the Countries

So, I’m a loyal Arsenal fan that it’s hard not to be bias to any team with Arsenal (ex) football players, and this is exactly the reason why I (not-so) secretly hope that Poland will make it to the next stage in the competition.

Also, don’t forget about the bomber Lewandowski. I don’t always watch Bayern (who am I kidding? I do at least once every season since Arsenal would always end up getting beaten by them 😐 ) but whenever I watch them playing, he always plays impressively. And the fact that they played really well in the last Euro, it was only a shame that they lost to the darn Portugal. 🙁

Colombia with their James Rodriguez and some other key players who play in the European league is probably something worth to watch for.

Although as an Asian myself, I actually want Japan to play really well to surprise us in the tournament. Sure, there’s no Tsubasa Ozora in the squad, but an Asian girl could hope… 😛

As for Senegal, it’s only the second time they’ll be in the tournament, but never forget the surprise they gave us in Korea-Japan when they won over the sucky French with Zidane. So, who knows what will happen to them in Russia, right?! 😉

1. Colombia

Guatape, Colombia – Source: Unsplash

This is the country that gave us Shakira and so many contestants in some beauty pageants.

But well, those are the bright sides of the country since it’s also the country that gave the world Pablo Escobar. But well, beyond those people in the pop news, maybe it’s time to go deep in what’s there in Colombia!

After all, we gotta admit that Colombia has become one of the exotic destinations for those in Latin America. Feel free to check the tips for backpacking in Colombia here for details! 😀

  1. Did you know that the country is named after Christopher Colombus?
  2. We all know that Amazon is the most massive rainforest in the world, and we all agree that it’s associated to Brazil so much that only a few people know that 10% of the area actually lies in Colombia.
  3. For all of you who love holidays, Colombia might be the right country for you as they come second as the country with the most national holidays with 18 national holidays in total. In case you want to know who’s the first, it’s India! 🙂
  4. Colombia is a part of the countries in the Ring of Fire, a group of countries in the Pacific Ocean that are vulnerable to earthquakes and eruptions. In case you didn’t know who’s on the top of the list, it’s my home country Indonesia. You are welcome.
  5. So we all know how South Korea is the capital country of plastic surgery. But did you know that Colombia is also the 5th country with the highest number of plastic surgery performed according to a study by International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons in 2011?
  6. Colombia and Columbia are pretty much like Indonesia and Endonesia. It does matter to pronounce it correctly.
  7. Supposedly this one is quite familiar for those in the Americas, but maybe not so much here around Asia to know that the age of 15 for girls in Colombia (and I guess in most of Latin America? Cmiiw!) considered as a big deal with “La Quinceañera”. It’s like the Colombian way of bar mitzvah. Hmm.
  8. Lilies and marigolds are strictly reserved for the funeral in Colombia. Giving someone those flowers could be considered as disrespectful. Mind that!
  9. Colombia is the only country in Latin America that has coastlines on the Pacific Ocean and Carribean Sea.
  10. Once the capital city of murder in the world with 17 murders every day in the average, Medellin in Colombia has currently become one of the country’s main cultural hubs.
  11. The government in Bogota, the capital city, not only tolerates graffiti and any kind of street arts, but they also encourage and sponsor activities related to it.

2. Japan

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto, Japan. Also check the tips to travel the shrine with kids.  – Source: Unsplash

Now that I spilled the beans earlier that I had to break up with my ex-boyfriend (who was also my puppy love as I crushed on this guy back when were in elementary school *lol*) as he had to relocate to Tokyo, to be honest despite the fact that I’ve never been there but I got a fair number of disappointing events related to the country.

Many of it, it’s almost traumatic that makes me lose interest to visit Japan in the first place.

Even before I started dating with this guy, I got a chance to learn Japanese because I personally love learning foreign languages. So, throughout my life, I got a chance to learn at least 5 foreign languages in total: English, German, French, Turkish, and Japanese.

Out of the 5, the worst result that made me feel like I wasted my time to learn the language is Japanese. The rest, well, even though I’m not considered as fluent in German or French, at least I know how to count 1 to 10 in the language. I can speak conversational Turkish, while I suppose my English is fairly well.

But Japanese? Honestly, there’s nothing I could remember from the lessons except for Konnichiwa. That’s such a shame.

However, even with zero skill of Japanese-speaking, a few years ago I actually got accepted for a Master’s degree study in Hiroshima University. I got my visa approved and everything, only to get my scholarship opportunity declined so I didn’t go.

A few years later, I got into drama with a Japanese girl due to some guy that didn’t even matter that much.

  1. Nippon, the name “Japan” in Japanese means the land of the Rising Sun, as they believe that Japan was the first country to see the sun rise in the East in the morning.
  2. Japanese train is, if not the most, one of the most punctual in the world as their average delay is only 18 seconds. We know how the story about they apologize even if they only only depart 4 seconds later than the schedule. But it also applies when the train arrives earlier than expected.
  3. While Japan is the country with the highest number of life expectancy, at least 21% of the Japanese population is elderly, which made them the highest proportion in the world.
  4. The Shinto Kanamara Matsuri, or the Festival of the Steel Phallus is held each spring in Kawasaki, Japan at the Kanayama Shrine. Everything in the event is dick-related with it reflected in everything from illustration to even carved vegetables. It is centered on a local penis-venerating shrine.
  5. KFC and Christmas Eve in Japan. Seriously, google it!
  6. Japan has the second lowest murder rate in the world, but thanks to Paul Logan that almost everyone in the world knows how spooky it is the ‘suicide forest’ Aokigahara at the base of Mount Fuji.
  7. Inemuri, or the concept of taking a nap on the job in Japan, is acceptable and viewed as evidence of exhaustion from working hard and highly appreciated there. Imagine I worked there, I feel exhausted all the time even when I do nothing and that’s super! *lol*
  8. In Japan, Hello Kitty is known as Kitty Chan and she was born in 1974. And in case you haven’t heard about why she doesn’t have a mouth, it’s because Sanrio wants people to ‘project their feelings onto the character’ and ‘be happy and sad together with Hello Kitty.”
  9. Slurping soups and noodles in Japan indicates that the dish is delicious, so slurp it up guys!
  10. Karate is known as one of the most popular Japanese martial arts, but did you know that it is actually originated in China?!
  11. There are nearly four million vending machines in Japan that you can actually find vagina vending machines in Japan.

3. Poland

Warsaw, Poland – Source: Unsplash

Being a loyal member of Slavorum group on Facebook, I think I’m way too familiar to the kurwa joke of Poland.

I’ve never been to anywhere in Poland, but I always want to go to Auschwitz.

I once attended an event with the guest speaker was then the Indonesian ambassador to Poland, Mr. Peter Gontha. Not only that he spoke highly of the country, but apart from that he’s probably one of the coolest diplomats that I’ve ever known.

  1. If you’re a devout follower of Slavorum, you probably know by now that in most of country balls comic, the Polish flag would be upside down that could be seen as Indonesia or Monaco’ flag instead. The red and white color in the flag derived from the Polish emblem, which is a white eagle on a red field.
  2. Nicolaus Copernicus, the first person who proposed that Earth is not the central of the universe, was a Polish-born.
  3. You may think that Italy is the world’s most Catholic country as it’s close to the Vatican. But it is not. It is, in fact, Poland. Surprise, surprise!
  4. On 11 November 1918, Poland declared itself a republic.
  5. The word “Poland” is the Anglicized version of Polska, which is derived from the word “field”. Literally, Poland means ‘the land of the Poles’.
  6. Marie Waleska met Napoleon in the ballroom of Warsaw’s Zamek Krolewkski in 1806, in which Napoleon remembered her for her extraordinary beauty before they started their affair back in the day.
  7. A minute of silence to count our blessing in which one of them is Helena Rubinstein, who was born in Krakow and can take credit for the world’s first waterproof mascara. Come on ladies, who are we without her existence? 😛
  8. If you’re into classical music, I suppose you’ll be familiar with Chopin. He was born in Zelazowa, Poland with name Fryderyk Franciszek Szopen. Congrats Poland for making me question my skill to spell. *lol*
  9. Okay, so throughout researching some fun facts about Poland, I was quite amazed by the fact that the way Poles eat pizza with tomato sauce considered as something ‘new’. I mean, I usually eat pizza with ketchup too so…
  10. Poland is the third in beer consumption in Europe behind Germany and the Czech Republic.
  11. Some of Germany-Poland border include a protected tranche of land along both sides of the river in the Lower Oder Valley International Park.

4. Senegal

Kaolack, Senegal – Source: Unsplash

I may not be familiar with anything in Senegal, but I’m fairly familiar with El Hadji Diouf and Jay Jay Okocha. Also Henry Camara.

However, I’m a follower of Nas Daily and I was really mesmerized with his video about Senegal. And because of that, I suppose I could say that from knowing zero about the country, Senegal sounds like a country full of dreams.

  1. When the Portuguese first visited the country’s coast, the fishermen said “sunu gaal“, which translates into “these are our boats” and hence, the current name of Senegal.
  2. As for the world’s most original recycling projects, Senegalese have made an island out of millions of mollusk shells. All from houses, pathways and even graveyards on Fadiouth are made from seashelss that would crunch under your feet wherever you walk.
  3. Senegal’s location in the west coast made it a hub for the international slave trade of the 18th and 19th century. A major transit point of the Atlantic Slave Trade is in Goree Island.
  4. The flag of Senegal has actually adopted the French Tricolore style as the relation between Senegal and France is quite close despite the three centuries of French colonization in the country. The flats of both Senegal and France look pretty much the same, and the big difference is only the colors used and the star in Senegaalese flag which represent the universal unity.
  5. Senegal is the most democratically stable country in the Western part of Africa as they weren’t overrun by a military coup. Its stability has gained more allies in both Europe and the Americas compared to other countries in the region.
  6. When the western world (and the rest of the world, really!) is crazy about corgy, the Senegalese most popular TV show is Khar Bii, a show about the humble sheep all around Senegal. Like, did you know that every Sunday the sheep in Senegal are usually brought to the shore for cleansing ritual? I mean, if that doesn’t explain the Sabbath for the sheep, I don’t know what is. 😛
  7. The similarity of Senegal and Indonesia: the equator passes through them, making it one of the tropical countries in each continent.
  8. Wrestling is actually the traditional and national sport in Senegal.
  9. So Akon was born in Senegal and I didn’t even know until I write this!!!
  10. In 2006 and 2007, there was some widespread blackout due to an energy crisis in Senegal. I can’t even. 😛
  11. One of the most popular tourist destinations is Lac Rose, or also known as the Pink Lake whose water appears bright pink, owing to the water’s high salt content.

One of the top countries on my bucket list, when it comes to Africa, would be Tanzania. But you see, after creating this content, I actually really want to go to Senegal. I still think that this country is definitely worth a visit and I definitely want to see it.

So, anyway… This makes the last series of the smartass prediction for the World Cup 2018, I hope you all could get something out of it. So, who’s your favorite team in this World Cup? Wanna bet? 😛

7 thoughts on “11 Random Facts About the Countries in 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and Some Smartass Prediction: Group G & H

  1. So much interesting information on this post! I especially loved the facts about Senegal (everything made out of seashells?!) and after my trip in Tanzania I now want to go there too! Thanks for all the info!

    1. yes, i actually had to google it to prove that it’s a legit information about this island made of shells and as it turned out, it is.. so, senegal is totally intriguing for me personally. 😀

      ps. still owe you the sunshine blogger one, will do it next week hopefully! 😉

  2. Knowing nothing at all about Soccer, I am rooting for Japan out of Group H. I mean… fast and reliable trains and taking naps while at work.. pretty awesome country. Sad that your scholarship got declined, what an experience that would have been!

  3. This is a great and fun post, although I’m not a big football fan – I’m rooting for Japan to win in theor category (because I’m biased) but in the cup I’m rooting for Brazil . The only foreign language I learned is Japanese and it has been very useful when I went to Japan. Tokyo is such an amazing place 🙂
    I have learned a lot of fun facts from this. Thanks!

  4. This is a very fun post. I am not a fan of the soccer game, but it was fun reading and knowing about it 🙂

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