The best soccer teams in the world are wrapping up their preparations for the start of the sport’s most prestigious tournament. The FIFA World Cup kicks off in Moscow on Thursday, when hosts, Russia take on Saudi Arabia.
Five-time champions, Brazil, arrived at their base in Sochi late on Monday. Led by one of soccer’s biggest stars, Neymar, the Seleção have a massive point to prove. They must atone for their shock 7-1 loss on home soil to Germany in the 2014 semi-finals.
Assisted by star players such as Gabriel Jesus, Alisson and Coutinho, Brazil will face Switzerland in their first Group E match on Sunday. Group C favourites, France, trained at their base camp in the Russian capital happy with the news that Chelsea striker, Olivier Giroud, should be ready to face Australia on Saturday.
Giroud suffered a big cut on his forehead in a friendly against the USA at the weekend. Much is expected from a French squad jam-packed with talent, players like Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezman, Paul Pogba and Ousmane Dembele have proven that they have the skills, and much-needed big-match temperament, to go far into the tournament.
“We are obviously more effective when we attack, than when we just pass the ball around. We must be better in a passing attack, because I have players who tend to be more offensive. But the main idea is to have the ball and to create problems for our opponents,” says France Coach, Didier Deschamp.
Meanwhile, 2014 runners-up, Argentina entertained a large contingent of fans during training in Moscow. Five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi will lead the team and is, without a doubt, the team’s trump card.
Argentina will do battle in Group D. They will kick off their campaign against Iceland, also on Saturday. Spain has been unbeaten for the last two years and will rely on the so-called ‘old guard’, such as Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets to pull them through.
They are training at one of Russia’s most modern sports facilities in Krasnodar and will travel to Sochi for their much-anticipated Group B clash against Portugal on Friday. Liverpool forward, Mo Salah, received a warm welcome from locals as Egypt arrived in Grozny.
Salah has not played since injuring his right shoulder in The Reds’ Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid last month.
He remains doubtful for Egypt’s opening Group A match against Uruguay on Friday.
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