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Your go-to guide for the 2018 FIFA World Cup

With the World Cup fast approaching, people from all around the world are waiting by with eager anticipation for their nation’s first match. There are high hopes for the Brazilian side and the Germans, while plenty of other countries are fielding teams with the necessary skill and experience to take home the trophy. Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

When does it start?

The first match kicks off in Moscow at 4pm BST on the 14th June. In this opening match, the hosts take on Saudi Arabia. The group stage ends on the 28th June and the rest of the matches will then take place as follows:

Which nations are competing?

As has been the case since the tournament was revamped in 1998, 32 teams will be competing in this year’s edition. They are divided up into eight groups, which are as follows:

Group A: Egypt, Uruguay, Russia, Saudi Arabia

Group B: Morocco, Iran, Portugal, Spain

Group C: Peru, Denmark, France, Australia

Group D: Croatia, Nigeria, Argentina, Iceland

Group E: Costa Rica, Serbia, Brazil, Switzerland

Group F: Sweden, South Korea, Germany, Mexico

Group G: Tunisia, England, Belgium, Panama

Group H: Colombia, Japan, Poland, Senegal

Who are the favourites?

With a total of 5 previous World Cup victories, Brazil are many people’s favourites for the tournament, closely followed by reigning champions Germany and 2010 winners Spain.

Here’s a more detailed look at who the bookies currently fancy (odds supplied by SkyBet on 3rd May):

Brazil (9/2)

Germany (5/1)

Spain (11/2)

France (6/1)

Argentina (9/1)

Belgium (10/1)

England (16/1)

Portugal (25/1)

How can you get involved?

It was reported that more than one billion people worldwide tuned in to the 2014 World Cup final! And don’t worry, you won’t be left out this year. Every match will be broadcast live all around the world. In the UK, all matches will be available for free, on either ITV or BBC. The final will be aired live on both channels. If you’re wondering how to tune into your the matches you want to see, here’s a complete list of who will be shown on which channel.

Watching in person

As is customary, Russia has opened its borders to the world, allowing all nations to come and watch their teams compete live. However, if you are planning to fly out to Russia, you should be aware of recent safety warnings. Due to recent political events between the UK and Russia, there have been reported threats from some Russian vigilante groups. As such, it has been advised that you never stray far from the stadiums or your chosen accommodation. Also, stick to the areas where matches will be held and don’t venture elsewhere in Russia. You can read up more on the UK government’s safety warning and advice here.

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