After over three years of qualification matches, the FIFA World Cup was open in Russia on June 14, 2018.
Thirty-two nations from six confederations around the world will make a bid for the most cherished cup in world soccer. The teams have been drawn into eight groups (A-H), with four teams each. They´ll face every opponent in their group, and the top two teams will advance to the knockout rounds.
Many players will have competed into the early summer with their club teams in domestic leagues around the world. But playing for your country is a different kind of honor-and another challenge-altogether. They´ll need to quickly settle into their first games if they want to move past the groups.
There are some notable absences in 2018-Chile, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United States all failed to qualify-and some intriguing newcomers as well. Will we see a new champion this year?
Group A looks to be one of the easiest in the Cup, and that should come as a big relief to the Russians. They´ll desperately want to win their first game, both for fan morale and to have any hopes of moving through to the next round. Standing in their way? Clear group favorite Uruguay, an exciting Egyptian squad, and an ambitious Saudi Arabian side.
Russia vs. Saudi Arabia
Egypt vs. Uruguay
Russia vs. Egypt
Uruguay vs. Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt
Uruguay vs. Russia