Football’s 2018 World Cup Kicks Off in Russia

The football World Cup begins Thursday with host Russia taking on Saudi Arabia.

President Vladimir Putin is attending the opening ceremony at the 80,000-seat Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

Russia is spending $13 billion to put on the event with matches taking place in 11 host cities.

Group play runs through June 28 with the knockout phase beginning June 30.  The World Cup champion will be crowned July 15.

Brazil, France, Spain, Argentina and defending champion Germany are among the favorites to win the 32-team tournament.

In addition to fans watching the games in Russia, television broadcasts will reach massive audiences around the world.  

Football’s governing body FIFA said during the last world cup in 2014 an estimated 3 billion people watched at least part of a game during the tournament, while 1 billion tuned in for the final match between Germany and Argentina.

 

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