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World Cup Kickoff

Month of soccer to determine World Champion begins Thursday



Neymar

associated press

After a four year absence, the 2018 FIFA World Cup will finally start on Thursday when host Russia squares off against Saudi Arabia to begin a month-long tournament, which will conclude on July 15 with the final. As an avid fan of the beautiful game, it’s my favorite sporting event.

I, and many others who fandom borders and even crosses into rabidity, will make every effort to watch as many games as possible, be it via television, computer, or handheld device.

FOX bid $425 million to air English-speaking broadcast rights – nearly four times the previous contract with ESPN – and Telemundo paid $600 million for the Spanish broadcast of the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, according to Bloomberg. This will be FOX’s first time to host the World Cup, and there is no doubt that without the U.S. team, which drew 16.5 million viewers in 2014 but failed to qualify for the first time since 1982, the casual fans who get caught up in the fun and patriotism of the Yanks’ run will diminish interest. But even without the stars and stripes, there will still be immense interest in the 2018 World Cup. Americans have bought more World Cup tickets than any other nation other than host Russia. So not only will American fans be there in person, there will be many American eyes watching broadcasts, too.

FOX and Fox Sports 1 will air 38 games live, the most ever for an English-language network, in fact, it’s more than the previous four World Cups combined. Additionally, all 64 ga.m.es will be live-streamed via Fox Sports Go and Fox Soccer Match Pass. The network’s coverage will include more than 350 hours of programming from a two-story studio complex based in Moscow’s Red Square. Two sets will feature a main anchor desk and an interview area for pregame, postgame, and late night shows, including World Cup Live, World Cup Today, and World Cup Tonight.

The tournament has two components; group play, in which eight groupings of four teams battle it out with the top two teams in each group advancing to the single-elimination knock-out round.

There are several storylines to capture fan’s attention, so expect large crowds at the city’s major soccer gathering places, including Finn McCool’s, Henry’s, The Bayou Beer Garden and the Deutsches Haus. If you go out, get there early.

FOX and FOX Sports 1 (FS1) has announced it will air the following matches in the group stage; all times CDT.

 

Date Time Match Station
Thursday, June 14 10 a.m. Russia vs Saudi Arabia  FOX
Friday, June 15 7 a.m. Egypt vs Uruguay  FS1
  10 a.m. Morocco vs Iran  FOX
  1 p.m.  Portugal vs Spain  FOX
Saturday, June 16 5 a.m. France vs Australia  FS1
  8 a.m. Argentina vs Iceland  FOX
  11 a.m.  Peru vs Denmark  FS1
  2 p.m.  Croatia vs Nigeria  FS1
Sunday, June 17 7 a.m. Costa Rica vs Serbia  FOX
  10 a.m.  Germany vs Mexico FS1
  1 p.m.  Brazil vs Switzerland  FS1
Monday, June 18 7 a.m.  Sweden vs South Korea FS1
  10 a.m. Belgium vs Panama  FS1
  1 p.m.  Tunisia vs England  FS1
Tuesday, June 19 7 a.m.  Colombia vs Japan  FS1
  10 a.m.  Poland vs Senegal  FOX
  1 p.m.  Russia vs Egypt  FOX
Wednesday, June 20 7 a.m.  Portugal vs Morocco  FS1
  10 a.m. Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia  FOX
  1 p.m.  Iran vs Spain  FOX
Thursday, June 21 7 a.m.  Denmark vs Australia  FS1
  10 a.m.  France vs Peru  FOX
  1 p.m.  Argentina vs Croatia  FOX
Friday, June 22 7 a.m.  Brazil vs Costa Rica  FS1
  10 a.m.  Nigeria vs Iceland  FOX
  1 p.m.  Serbia vs Switzerland  FOX
Saturday, June 23 7 a.m. Belgium vs Tunisia  FOX
  10 a.m.  South Korea vs Mexico  FOX
  1 p.m.  Germany vs Sweden  FOX
Sunday, June 24 7 a.m.  England vs Panama  FS1
  10 a.m.  Japan vs Senegal FOX
  1 p.m.  Poland vs Colombia  FOX
Monday, June 25 9 a.m.  Uruguay vs Russia FOX
    Saudi Arabia vs Egypt FS1
  1 p.m.  Iran vs Portugal FOX
    Spain vs Morocco  FS1

 

 

Odds on Favorites

Current odds on World Cup 2018 Winner via dabblebet, a United Kingdom-based soccer betting website.

Country Odds
Brazil 17/4
Germany 2-Sep
Spain 1-Jun
France 13/2
Argentina 1-Sep
Belgium 1-Nov
England 16/1
Portugal 25/1
Uruguay 28/1
Croatia 33/1
Russia 40/1
Colombia 40/1
Poland 66/1
Switzerland 100/1
Mexico 100/1
Denmark 100/1
Sweden 125/1
Serbia 150/1
Egypt 150/1
Nigeria 200/1
Iceland 200/1
Peru 200/1
Senegal 200/1
Japan 250/1
Australia 500/1
Costa Rica 500/1

 

 

 

 

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Chris Price is an award-winning journalist and public relations principal. When he's not writing, he's avid about music, the outdoors and Saints, Ole Miss & Chelsea football. He lives in New Orleans with his wife, two girls and three Labradors. In addition reporting on New Orleans sports, he is looking forward to Biz’s assignment to cover the Mint 400, “The Great American Off-Road Race.”

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