Malaysiakini NEWS

World Cup 2018 all set to begin in Russia

Bernama  |  Published:  |  Modified:

The 2018 Fifa World Cup gets underway today, when hosts Russia face Saudi Arabia following an opening ceremony at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, Macedonia Information Agency (MIA) reported, citing BBC.

The much-anticipated event will feature 32 teams, including Cup holder Germany, competing in 64 games over 32 days.

The 21st edition will be played in 12 stadiums, across 11 cities, spread over 1,800 miles.

England, winners in 1966, are the only team from the home nations to qualify and start against Tunisia on June 18.

Germany, who beat Argentina in 2014 final, are looking to become the first team to win back-to-back the World Cup since 1962, while Brazil will seek a record-extending sixth world title.

The month-long tournament is expected to attract one and a half million fans to Russia and an estimated global television audience of over three billion viewers.

There are eight groups, each containing four teams, with the top two advancing to the last 16. The final takes place at the 81,000-capacity Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday, July 15 July.

Germany, Brazil, Euro 2016 winners Portugal, 2014 runners-up Argentina, Belgium, Poland and 1998 winners France are among the eight seeded teams.

Hosts Russia are also seeded, though they are the tournament's lowest-placed team - 70th - in FIFA's world rankings.

England, who have won only one of their past eight World Cup matches, are unseeded, as are 2010 champions Spain.

- Bernama

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