World Cup 2018 Football showpiece set to begin in Russia

World Cup 2018 Football showpiece set to begin in Russia

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How can you predict whos going to win the World Cup?

Englands first two World Cup matches will be shown exclusively live on the BBC, starting with the game against Tunisia on Monday, 18 June, and then the match versus Panama on Sunday, 24 June.

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How are England expected to perform?

After their opening game in Volgograd (19:00 BST), England face World Cup debutants Panama in Nizhny Novgorod on 24 June (13:00 BST) before rounding off their Group G campaign in Kaliningrad against Belgium four days later (19:00 BST).

Users will be transported to a fully immersive stadium experience, through headsets, as if they are sitting in their own hospitality box.

Cahill, Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck and Phil Jones are the only survivors from the squad that finished bottom of their group at the 2014 World Cup under Roy Hodgson.

Hosts Russia are also seeded, though they are the tournaments lowest-placed team – 70th – inFifas world rankings.

VAR has been trialled in some domestic English cup games this season, and has been used in Germany and Italy.

Deputy Chief Constable Roberts warned acts of disorder will carry severe sentences in Russia although Alexei Smertin, the anti-discrimination chief of Russia 2018,played down concernsand said the atmosphere around World Cup venues will be friendly.

It definitely wont be stressful and we let everyone feel comfortable and safe in our country, said the former Chelsea midfielder, capped 55 times by Russia.

The Netherlands,runners-up in 2010,also missed out while the United States are absent for thefirst time since 1986.

Click here for a comprehensive guide on how to follow the World Cup across the BBC

Current skipper Harry Kane is more upbeat.

The closest England have come to repeating their feat of 1966 is a semi-final appearance at Italia 90.

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

France boast a young, exciting squad which includes 19-year-old forward Kylian Mbappe as well as a number of familiar Premier League names including Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba and Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud.

Its impossible not to dream about lifting the World Cup. I believe we can win it – anyone can, said the Tottenham forward.

Spain feature severalChampions League winnersfrom Real Madrid in their squad as they look to recapture the magic that saw them crowned world champions eight years ago and European champions in 2008 and 2012.

We will have 33 matches televised live while BBC Radio 5 live will provide live commentary of all the games.

Ultra HD TV can be accessed through a high-speed internet connection and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

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The technology will be used to help officials avoid making potentially match-deciding mistakes when it comes to important issues such as awarding goals, penalties or red cards.

Read more on How can you predict whos going to win the World Cup?

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How much do you know about the England squad?

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There are several teams back on the world stage after lengthy absences.

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

However, there are some notable absentees.

Meanwhile, fans will be able to watch the tournament in Ultra HD and virtual reality as BBC Sport trials cutting-edge technology.

Germany have reached at least the semi-finals in each of the past four editions of the competition and, as the only team to progress through European qualifying with a 100% record, are expected to be in the shake-up again. They are in Group F with Mexico, Sweden and South Korea.

The latest news, debate, analysis and big-name guests – plus interviews from inside the England camp – at the Fifa 2018 World Cup.

We have a great record when it comes to qualifying, but since the 2010 World Cup our record at finals has been poor, added Shearer, who played alongside Southgate at the 1998 World Cup.

VAR was first used at the Club World Cup in December 2016, and trialled in the 2017 Confederations Cup.

Its not possible that in 2018 everyone in their living room knows a few seconds after the play whether a referee has made a mistake and the referee doesnt.

The Central American country, 55th in Fifas world rankings, boast an experienced coach in Hernan Dario Gomez, who was in charge of his native Colombia at the 1998 World Cup and Ecuador at the 2002 edition.

Four-time winnersItaly,South American championsChileand their African counterpartsCameroonall failed to qualify.

Who was a threat to his own team? England player ratings v Tunisia

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Video assistant referees (VAR) will be making their debut at the World Cup.

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

While England qualified comfortably for Russia – and enjoyed friendly victories overNigeriaandCosta Ricain recent weeks – former Three Lions captain Alan Shearerdoes not believe they will winthe tournament.

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While about 10,000 England fans are expected to travel to Russia, a number are likely to stay away because ofpolitical tensionsbetween the two countries and safety issues.

Read more on World Cup 2018: Young players to watch in Russia – including El Chucky, The Sergeant & The Bull

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

Yet the Brazilians will fancy their chances, particularly as Neymar, who cost aworld record 200mwhen he moved from Barcelona to Paris St-Germain in August 2017, has returned after a broken foot.

Read more on World Cup 2018: How will VAR work in Russia?

They will hope to repeat their exploits of two years ago, when they lit up Euro 2016 by reaching the quarter-finals in their first appearance at a major tournament,humiliating England en route.

Read more on Russia on brink of last 16 with win over Egypt – highlights & report

One thing supporters need to do when they go is be a good guest, behave themselves, said Mark Roberts, Britains lead officer for football policing.

Germany, who beat Argentina in the2014 final,are looking to become the first team to win back-to-back World Cups since 1962, while Brazil seek a record-extending sixth world title.

Read more on England make record 481 to thrash Australia by 242 runs

How to get into football – the most popular sport in the world, with clubs and facilities throughout the UK.

The BBC is the only destination for coverage 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on television, radio and online.

One thing England will have to address if they want to go far is their poor record at the knockout stage in major competitions.

Peru return to the finals for the first time since 1982, while north African nations Egypt and Morocco are back for the first time in 28 and 20 years respectively.

With a population of approximately 335,000, Iceland are the smallest nation ever to qualify.

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

Russia on brink of last 16 with win over Egypt – highlights & report

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Only three of Gareth Southgates 23 players are aged 30 or over – defenders Gary Cahill and Ashley Young, both 32, and 31-year-old forward Jamie Vardy. Defender Trent Alexander-Arnold is the youngest at 19.

The 2018 Fifa World Cup gets under way on Thursday, when hosts Russia face Saudi Arabia following an opening ceremony at Moscows Luzhniki Stadium.

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Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo will be hoping for a first World Cup winners medal after helping Portugal win Euro 2016, while Lionel Messi is hoping to win a first major trophy with Argentina.

A national holidaywas declared in Panama after they qualified for the World Cup for the first time.

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The HD stream will be available from the BBC iPlayer home screen as soon as programme coverage begins but the number of users granted access will be limited to tens of thousands of people.

Icelands first game in Russia is against Argentina on 16 June.

Germany will be hunted like never before, said head coach Joachim Low. Only us, as world champions, have anything to lose.

They have not won a knockout match at a tournament since defeating Ecuador in the last 16 of the 2006 World Cup.

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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, 15 July (16:00 BST).

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All 33 matches broadcast by the BBC will be available for free on BBC Sports VR 2018 World Cup app, and the 29 matches on BBC One will also be available in Ultra HD.

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There wereviolent clasheswhen Russian fans charged England supporters in the stadium when the two countries played each other in Marseille at Euro 2016. Trouble was also reported in the citys streets between England, Russia and France fans.

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Brazil are the only nation to have appeared at every single World Cup, but they have not won the tournament since 2002, and not since 1958 in Europe.

With an average age of 26 years and 18 days, the Three Lions have the third-youngest squad in Russia.

Panama and Iceland will be competing at their first World Cup, which is held every four years.

Which players are going to Russia – all the confirmed squads

We wanted to give the referees tools so they can make better decisions, and in the World Cup some very important decisions are made, said Fifa president Gianni Infantino.

Russia is hoping to put on a tournament to remember afterbeating England- as well as joint bids by Spain and Portugal, and the Netherlands and Belgium – to stage the tournament for the first time.

Thats why we should concentrate on getting out of our group first before we worry too much about who we could face in the next round, because doing that has been difficult enough in the past.

Footballs showpiece event features 32 teams, including holders Germany, competing in 64 games over 32 days.

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