The stage is set for the start of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, as 32 national teams wrap up preparations.

The global showpiece kicks off in Moscow on Thursday, with Russia taking on Saudi Arabia in the opening encounter.

Tournament favourites and five-time champions, Brazil, arrived at their base in Sochi on the Black Sea late on Monday.

They were led by one of football’s biggest stars, Neymar.

The Brazilians have a point to prove. They have to redeem themselves after 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, Moscow. 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.

France coach, Didier Deschamps says his team has proven that they have the skills and much-needed big-match temperament, to go far in the tournament.

Meanwhile 2014 runners-up, Argentina entertained a large contingent of fans during training in Moscow.

Warm welcome for Mo Salah

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi will lead the team. And he 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 have 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 in southern Russia. 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 in Russia’s Chechen Republic.

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.

Watch for related video: