With the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia fast-approaching, there’s no doubt already a lot of hype and heated discussion in the air around questions like: Which country will win the Cup this time around? Which player will win the Golden Boot? And, even: Which countries will boycott the tournament?
So, in case you find yourself caught in the middle of a World Cup fever-fuelled discussion scratching your head, here are our top 5 tips for surviving World Cup 2018 fever:
1. Know your politics
There’s been a lot of talk around countries like the UK, US and Australia boycotting the World Cup 2018 in Russia because of the Russian spy scandal.
Around the world, governments have already voiced their discontent with Russia over the scandal, with the UK, US and Australia expelling 23, 60 and 2 Russian diplomats respectively so far, and other countries quickly following suit.
Both the UK’s ministers and Royal Family, as well as Iceland’s leaders, have already stated they won’t be attending this year’s World Cup in Russia in response to the scandal. Other countries have hinted at the possibility of also boycotting the tournament.
But if you’re not looking to get caught in a debate over sports or politics (let alone both), no one can really chew your ear off if you play neutral.
2. Know your countries and groups
It’s been a few months now since the World Cup 2018 draw results were announced, so it’s good to be clued-in whenever that all-important office sweep comes around.
Here’s a refresher on which countries will be participating in which group in this year’s World Cup:
3. Know your national anthems
No matter which country you support, one of the most exciting moments of a World Cup match is undoubtedly witnessing the players, and the crowd of supporters around you, proudly chanting their national anthem. And, of course, being brave enough to join in!
Even if your team didn’t make the cut for the World Cup this year, or end up getting eliminated (way too early, of course), there’s no excuse to miss out on any of the fun (or on belting out a tune in front of a packed bar).
So, without further ado, here are the World Cup 2018 national anthems you can start rehearsing:
4. Know your host cities
The World Cup 2018’s 64 matches will take place in 11 host cities across Russia:
The Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow will host both the opening match on 14 June, and the final on 15 July.
As well as being the first time Russia has hosted a World Cup, this year’s World Cup will also mark the first time the tournament has been hosted in Eastern Europe.
5. Know your dates
Eight groups, 32 teams, 12 venues, 31 days. That’s a lot of matches and dates to remember. Especially if you’re not a football fan but need to stay up-to-date with what’s happening at the World Cup in case you unwittingly find yourself caught in the middle of office small talk at the coffee machine.
Here’s a wall chart predictor from The Telegraph you’ll find useful. You might want to come back and see how your predictions turn out during the Cup.