32 nations. 64 games. 1 goal. The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia is the 21st edition of the single biggest tournament for the single biggest sport on the planet, and the first to be held in Eastern Europe.
It all begins next summer on June 14 and culminates with the final in Moscow on July 15. All games will be live on FOX 25/48 and FOX Sports GO.
WORLD CUP KICK OFF
Thursday, June 14, 2018 at 10:00am!
The 32 qualified teams were drawn into eight groups of four at the World Cup Draw, the biggest tentpole event ahead of the tournament. When the games begin next June, each team will play their three group opponents once, with the top two teams advancing to the knockout stage.
Where is the US Men’s National Team? The U.S. men’s national team’s Road to Russia ended in heartbreak after it’s 2-1 defeat in Trinidad & Tobago on the final day of qualifying. The USMNT’s dropped from 3rd to 5th place in ‘The Hex,’ and ensured it will miss the World Cup for the first time since 1986.
The two favorites in Group F face off in what should be a thrilling opener for both teams. Mexico have lost all three previous World Cup meetings against the Germans, who also beat El Tri in the Confederations Cup semifinals this past summer.
Portugal vs Spain - 6/15 – 1:00pm
What an opener in Group B! The last two European champions go head-to-head as Cristiano Ronaldo will meet several of his Real Madrid teammates. The winner of this one will be in pole position to win the group.
England vs Belgium - 6/28 – 1:00pm
There’ll be a familiar feel to this Group G battle as Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku will look to lead Belgium’s pack of Premier League stars against England. The winner of this third and final match will likely decide the group.
Argentina vs Iceland - 6/16 – 1:00am
Everyone’s favorite underdog begins its maiden World Cup voyage against none other than Lionel Messi’s Argentina. And in a well-balanced Group D, starting out with a win will be critical for each team’s chances to progress. Can Messi & Co. avoid an upset to Euro 2016’s giant killer Iceland?
WHO TO FOLLOW
THE FAVORITE TEAMS
The reigning champions will look to become the first country to win back-to-back World Cups since Brazil in 1958 and 1962, and they just might do it too, with a mix of exciting young players and holdovers from 2014.
Led by Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar, Brazil’s most balanced roster in decades cruised through the notoriously difficult South American qualifying region and looks primed for a run at a record sixth World Cup.
No team may be deeper or has more star power at every position than France. And after a heartbreaking loss to Portugal in the Euro 2016 final on home soil, the young Les Bleus should be extra motivated and more experienced for Russia.
KEEP AN EYE ON
Looking for a loveable underdog? Then Iceland is your team. With a population of under 350,000, Iceland is the smallest country to ever qualify for a World Cup, but after knocking England out in the Round of 16 at Euro 2016 they have already proven they belong.
With a squad many have called the most talented in their history, this might be the time El Tri end their streak of six straight exits in the Round of 16. All-time leading scorer Chicharito and stars can provide enough firepower, but how will the defense play?
Lionel Messi (Argentina)
Won everything there is to win at club level, but an international title with Argentina is one glaring omission on Messi’s extraordinary resume. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner will make what could be one last real go at the World Cup.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
The two-time defending world player of the year has been on an unprecedented run for club and country, winning the European Championships with Portugal and back-to-back Champions League titles in Real Madrid. The only title missing in his collection?
Neymar Jr (Brazil)
The world’s most expensive player of all time after leaving Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain this summer, Neymar is out to prove he can break the Ronaldo-Messi duopoly and become the next “Best Player in the World.” A good way to accomplish that? Lead Brazil to a sixth World Cup.
KEEP AN EYE ON
Harry Kane (England)
Only Messi has scored more goals than Kane in 2017, and the 24-year-old is just getting started. After winning back-to-back Golden Boot awards in the Premier League, England’s World Cup hopes will rest squarely on the big Tottenham striker’s shoulders.
Marco Asensio (Spain)
Asension has already established himself as one of the world’s brightest young stars at Real Madrid, but next summer’s World Cup could be the stage where the 21-year-old truly breaks out. Spain are counting on their young phenom to bring them back to glory.