FIFA World Cup 2018 Kick-off is just few hours away, as the hosts Russia will face Saudi Arabia in the opening match on Thursday at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
Most of the groups are some-what straight forward and all the big names will be expected to make it to the knockout stages.
Group D is being seen as the group of death and it contains Argentina, Croatia, Nigeria and Iceland. Still Argentina and Croatia are clear favourites to get out of that group.
It’s time to mark your dates and timings for some of the biggest clashes of the group stage.
TOP 5 MATCHES OF THE GROUP STAGE –
#5 Russia v Uruguay – Group A
Russia and Uruguay will face each other in their last match of the group stage and it may well end up to be a do or die scenario for one of the teams.
25th June, 3 pm(UK)
#4 Brazil v Serbia – Group E
Brazil’s hopes of topping the group could be shattered by Serbia, who have some fantastic players none bigger than €100 million rated attacking midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. Other than him, they also have players like Nemanja Matic, Branislav Ivanovic, Alexander Kolarov and Adam Ljajic.
27th June, 7 pm(UK)
#3 England v Belgium – Group G
England and Belgium will face each other and whichever team wins this match will surely top the group, as both the teams are expected to easily qualify for the knockout stages. Belgium are one of the favourites to win the whole tournament, whereas England will look to go as far as possible and if they can reach the quarterfinals, that will be seen as a success in all honesty.
26th June, 7 pm(UK)
#2 Argentina v Croatia – Group D
Argentina will lock horns with Croatia and any result other than a win will make it tough for both the teams to even get out of this group, which also contain Nigeria and Iceland. Argentina are good in attack, but very average in midfield and defence. Croatia have a fantastic midfield with players like Luca Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mateo Kovacic and have some good players like Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic in attack.
21st June, 7 pm(UK)
#1 Spain v Portugal – Group B
The best match of the Group stage will see Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo playing against his Real Madrid teammates in this crucial match in Sochi. Despite winning Euro 2016, Portugal are as far down as eighth favourite with some bookmakers to turn that continental success into global success.
Fernando Hierro, a relatively unknown figure whose only previous managerial experience came in one season at Oviedo, is now tasked with guiding La Roja to a second World Cup triumph in the space of three tournaments.
15th June, 7 pm(UK)