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Perhaps the most anticipated sporting event of this year, there’s plenty to look forward to this FIFA World Cup and here’s everything you need to know about:

Four countries from the Arab World have qualified

From the 32 qualified countries, Saudi Arabia is the only participating country from the Middle East while three countries; Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt from the Arab World have qualified for the World Cup. Whereas, 14 countries from Europe have qualified, followed by five teams each from Asia, Africa and South America and three from the North American region.

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Brazil, Spain, Germany and France are among the favourites

Since the forgettable 7-1 in the semifinals against Germany in the 2014 World Cup, the Selecao team has risen as a balanced team, powered by its star players Neymar, Allison Becker and Phillipe Coutinho. Whereas, France has been shown in good form, thanks to its success in the warm-up matches, winning four out of six of them. They have a team of star players like Paul Pogba, Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann.

Defending champions Germany will be keen on defending the title as they won last year’s mini-World Cup- the FIFA Confederations Cup, defeating Chile 1-0. Lastly, Spain, who had a poor run in the previous World Cup and in Euros 2016, will be keen on making a mark this World Cup with its youthful team along with star players like Gerard Pique and David Silva.

Achilles the cat is this World Cup’s predictor

Remember Paul the Octopus from the 2010 World Cup? The famous octopus was known for most match predictions turning correct., 55.5% to be exact. This year, the FIFA team has selected a cat to make the predictions. He’s also done predictions in the past, with a 3-in-4 success rate at a recent competition in the host country, Russia.

Photograph credit: The Star

Russia 2018 will likely be the last World Cup for Messi and Ronaldo

Football legends Christiano Ronaldo(33 y/o) and Lionel Messi(31 y/o) will have their final shot at winning a World Cup for their respective countries, Portugal and Argentina. Messi’s closest chance at winning the World Cup was in the previous edition as Argentina reached the finals but lost 1-0 to Germany, while Ronaldo came closest to the World Cup in his first one in 2006, where Portugal reached the Semi-Final and lost to France, 1-0. Also, this World Cup may be the last one for Sergio Ramos(31 y/o), Gerard Pique(31 y/o) and Thiago Silva(33 y/o).


Nicky Jam’s ‘Live It Up’ is the official theme song

Latin American artist Nicky Jam’s has worked with Will Smith and the 2016 ‘Bon Bon’ artist Era Istrefi for this World Cup’s song ‘Live It Up’. Thanks to Diplo, he produced the track, creating an uplifting feel and its music videos features a cameo by football legend and former World Cup champion, Ronaldinho. Plus, Jason Derulo’s song ‘Colors’, which is the anthem for the World Cup sponsors Coca-Cola, touches on unity and multiculturalism among the football world.

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