World Cup Kickoff
Month of soccer to determine World Champion begins Thursday
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.
|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.