Good morning, hello, and— THE WORLD CUP IS HERE! IT’S HAPPENING! IT’S ON!
Oh yeah. It’s day one of the World Cup, and we couldn’t have the fever harder if we were covered in red spots and blotches, and chucking up into a bucket. Wow, that got a bit graphic. Apologies. We’re a little over-excited.
Anyway, here’s what’s happening on Day One.
Russia vs. Saudi Arabia
Time: 18:00 Moscow time, 16:00 UK time, 11:00 on the east coast of the USA, and 8:00 over on the west.
Place: We’ll be at the Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, which may bring back a fond memory or two. Though it’s a group game, so no penalty shootouts.
How to watch: The game will be on ITV in the UK and FOX or Telemundo in the USA. Everybody else, have a look at livesoccer.
How to watch online: You’ll need ITV’s online player in the UK, and Telemundo’s stream in the USA.
Expectations: It’s ... well, it could be a terrible game. Sorry about that. These are the two lowest ranks teams in the tournament, and rightly so. Russia have a strange, creaking, aged squad, while Saudi Arabia, though they will apparently try to attack, may not be any good at it.
But sometimes bad teams produce good games. In any case, there’ll be an opening ceremony beforehand, and those are always fun. And remember, bad World Cup games are still better than most other things in the world.
United points of interest
Slim pickings, beyond the stadium. Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was regularly linked with United (and everywhere else) back in the day, but he ended up staying in Russia. Turns out he wasn’t the reincarnation of Lev Yashin, however much everybody wanted him to be.
Elsewhere in the Russia squad is Aleksandr Golovin, with whom United have recently and conveniently been linked. He’s probably Russia’s best bet of doing anything interesting, so worth keeping an eye out for him.
Finally, Saudi Arabia’s coach Juan Antonio Pizzi used to coach Chile, who you may recall winning the Copa America in thrilling fashion. They had a brilliant, dynamic forward called Alexis Sanchez. Wonderful to watch. Whatever happened to him?
Fun World Cup things
Over on the main /soccer site, some goodies. There’s the Find A Team To Support tool, cunningly disguised as a food quiz. There’s a glossary of useful terms for all football fans. And here’s a piece looking at how international football is about to change forever.
This is our live thread for the day. Join us in the comments below!