It’s time to start trading Panini stickers! After the excitement of the FA Cup, the Champions League Final and the domestic playoffs, we can now sit back and look forward to the next great sporting event, the FIFA Russia World Cup.
There is a feeling that this year, the anticipation is somewhat muted. Perhaps it’s too soon after the Euros when the England team was humiliated by a bunch of Scandinavian part timers with their chilling Viking thunder clap. Whatever the reason, the Russia World Cup starts next week and the strains of Three Lions will surely be heard in pubs and homes around the country.
Harry Kane leads the team as captain, a position which has been bestowed on many but successfully fulfilled by few. And here’s a couple of pub quiz facts for you: the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ teams provide 17 of the 23 players chosen by Southgate and Manchester United holds the record as the only club represented in every England football tournament squad since 1950.
Teams that should have but didn’t qualify include Austria, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Scotland, Turkey, United States and Wales.
Group Stages of Russia World Cup 2018
For those who want to organise their events and viewing in advance, here is the schedule.
- Thursday June 14 Russia v Saudi Arabia (A) Moscow (Luzhniki) 4pm
- Friday June 15 Egypt v Uruguay (A) Ekaterinburg 1pm; Morocco v Iran (B) St Petersburg 4pm; Portugal v Spain (B) Sochi 7pm
- Saturday June 16 France v Australia (C) Kazan 11am; Argentina v Iceland (D) Moscow (Spartak) 2pm; Peru v Denmark (C) Saransk 5pm; Croatia v Nigeria (D) Kaliningrad 8pm
- Sunday June 17 Costa Rica v Serbia (E) Samara 1pm; Germany v Mexico (F) Moscow (Luzhniki) 4pm; Brazil v Switzerland (E) Rostov-on-Don 7pm
- Monday June 18 Sweden v South Korea (F) Nizhny Novgorod 1pm; Belgium v Panama (G) Sochi 4pm; Tunisia v England (G) Volgograd 7pm
- Tuesday June 19 Poland v Senegal (H) Moscow (Spartak) 1pm; Colombia v Japan (H) Saransk 4pm; Russia v Egypt (A) St Petersburg 7pm
- Wednesday June 20 Portugal v Morocco (B) Moscow (Luzhniki) 1pm; Uruguay v Saudi Arabia (A) Rostov-on-Don 4pm; Iran v Spain (B) Kazan 7pm
- Thursday June 21 France v Peru (C) Ekaterinburg 1pm; Denmark v Australia (C) Samara 4pm; Argentina v Croatia (D) Nizhny Novgorod 7pm
- Friday June 22 Brazil v Costa Rica (E) St Petersburg 1pm; Nigeria v Iceland (D) Volgograd 4pm; Serbia v Switzerland (E) Kaliningrad 7pm
- Saturday June 23 Belgium v Tunisia (G) Moscow (Spartak) 1pm; Germany v Sweden (F) Sochi 4pm; South Korea v Mexico (F) Rostov-on-Don 7pm
- Sunday June 24 England v Panama (G) Nizhny Novgorod 1pm; Japan v Senegal (H) Ekaterinburg 4pm; Poland v Colombia (H) Kazan 7pm
- Monday June 25 Uruguay v Russia (A) Samara 3pm; Saudi Arabia v Egypt (A) Volgograd 3pm; Spain v Morocco (B) Kaliningrad 7pm; Iran v Portugal (B) Saransk 7pm
- Tuesday June 26 Denmark v France (C) Moscow (Luzhniki) 3pm; Australia v Peru (C) Sochi 3pm; Nigeria v Argentina (D) St Petersburg 7pm; Iceland v Croatia (D) Rostov-on-Don 7pm
- Wednesday June 27 South Korea v Germany (F) Kazan 3pm; Mexico v Sweden (F) Ekaterinburg 3pm; Serbia v Brazil (E) Moscow (Spartak) 7pm; Switzerland v Costa Rica (E) Nizhny Novgorod 7pm
- Thursday June 28 Japan v Poland (H) Volgograd 3pm; Senegal v Colombia (H) Samara 3pm; England v Belgium (G) Kaliningrad 7pm; Panama v Tunisia (G) Saransk 7pm
Knock Out Rounds
LAST 16 (3pm and 7pm)
Saturday June 30: Sunday July 1: Monday July 2: Tuesday July 3
QUARTER-FINALS (3pm and 7pm)
Friday July 6: Saturday July 7
Tuesday July 10: Wednesday July 11
THIRD-PLACE PLAY-OFF (3pm)
Saturday July 14
Sunday July 15
All that remains is to wish the England team the best of luck and please, no penalty shootouts. And for all of those in the catering businesses organising Russia World Cup related events good luck.