The FIFA 18 World Cup mode could see 12 countries added to the game.
That’s because, after a bit of digging, there are 12 countries who have qualified for the World Cup that do not feature on the game (for the full list click here).
From UEFA, Serbia and Croatia are nowhere to be seen – meaning you won’t be able to play with the likes of Man United’s Nemanja Matić or Real Madrid’s Luka Modric.
In Asia, Iran, South Korea and Japan are omitted – despite FIFA 18 featuring Japan’s J League.
Elsewhere in the CAF, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia and Morocco are missing, while in the CONCACAF, Costa Rica and Panama have been left out.
Finally, in CONMEBOL, Peru is not included.
So, what does this mean for the rumoured World Cup mode?
Back in FIFA 14, EA added a special Ultimate Team: World Cup mode.
It arrived as a free update – and featured players and kits from all 32 teams taking part.
EA Sports omitted teams from last year’s game for good reason – perhaps due to licensing issues.
If that’s the case, it seems highly unlikely that a World Cup mode ‘proper’ would feature – as there won’t be enough teams in the game to allow a full, accurate tournament to take place.
That’s unless EA somehow manages to acquire rights to use the teams and add them to the game via an update.
Although nothing has been confirmed by EA, what seems more likely at this point is a World Cup promotion, with free boosted player cards on offer for stars who perform well in Russia.
This would be in line with a recent discovery of an in-game file that appeared to show World Cup content on FIFA 18.
The code, which was posted on the FIFA reddit, is already causing excitement amongst fans.
FIFA players have long-been asking EA Sports for a World Cup mode to coincide with this year’s competition.
According to Goal, The World Cup download will arrive in spring and be available PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Microsoft Windows.
There’s no word yet as to whether the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions will get the version, although a stripped back update could well be on the cards.
Last September, Spanish commentator Manolo Lama confirmed he was to record commentary for the expansion.
He told Radio COPE: “I have to record it for FIFA World Cup in December, I think it will be out in February or March.”
The World Cup kicks off on June 14, so it’s likely the expansion will land sometime before then to give it the longest shelf life possible.
Whether or not it’s the World Cup mode we were hoping for though, remains to be seen.