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World Cup

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be the 21st FIFA World Cup, a quadrennial international football tournament contested by the men's national teams of the member associations of FIFA. It is scheduled to take place in Russia from 14 June to 15 July 2018,[1] after the country was awarded the hosting rights on 2 December 2010.

This will be the first World Cup held in Europe since the 2006 tournament in Germany, the first ever to be held in Eastern Europe and the eleventh time that it has been held in Europe. All of the stadium venues are in European Russia to keep travel time manageable.

The final tournament will involve 32 national teams, which include 31 teams determined through qualifying competitions and the automatically qualified host team. Of the 32 teams, 20 will be making back-to-back appearances following the last tournament in 2014, including defending champions Germany, while Iceland and Panama will both be making their first appearances at a FIFA World Cup. A total of 64 matches will be played in 12 venues located in 11 cities. The final will take place on 15 July at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.[2][3][4]

The winners of the World Cup will qualify for the 2021 FIFA Confederations Cup.

The 2018 World Cup might be missing some big nations, but that's what makes this tournament the best in sports. Brazil are looking to bounce back from a travesty in 2014, while Spain, Argentina and France are hoping to dethrone defending champions Germany and their typically deep squad. Can Belgium or Portugal make a splash? Do England have what it takes to challenge too?

ESPN FC is previewing every team ahead of the opening game on June 14 in English, Spanish and Portuguese to give a truly global feel to our team profiles. Here's what you need to know about the 32 teams set to do battle in Russia beginning on June 14.

World Cup 2018 team previews: What you need to know about all 32 teams

GROUP A: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay
- Russia: Do weak hosts have easiest group ever?
- Saudi Arabia: New coach faces tall task to gel average squad
- Egypt: Pharaohs' fortunes come down to one player... Salah
- Uruguay: Suarez and Cavani's goals enough to reach the semifinals

GROUP B: Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran
- Portugal: Can Ronaldo lead Euro 2016 champs to global glory?
- Spain: Andres Iniesta, Spain poised to reclaim World Cup from Germany
- Morocco: Escaping the group will require some serious upsets
- Iran: "Team Melli" are fighting for pride in 2018

GROUP C: France, Australia, Peru, Denmark
- France: Semifinals a realistic aim if Pogba, Griezmann & Co. unite
- Australia: Socceroos facing uphill battle under new manager
- Peru: No hope without Paolo Guerrero
- Denmark: Eriksen the key if Danes are to escape the group

GROUP D: Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria
- Argentina: Messi has to bring home the trophy
- Iceland: Don't expect underdogs to escape the group
- Croatia: Modric, Rakitic the key to a last-16 appearance
- Nigeria: Goalkeeping issues will ruin a talented squad

GROUP E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia
- Brazil: Selecao, Neymar hungry to avenge 7-1 humiliation in 2014
- Switzerland: Don't expect Shaqiri & Co. to stick around
- Costa Rica: Ticos hoping for repeat run to quarterfinals
- Serbia: Raw squad led by Mitrovic, Milinkovic-Savic hoping to shock

GROUP F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea
- Germany: Champs boast depth but Manuel Neuer's fitness a concern
- Mexico: Is this the year they finally crack the round of 16?
- Sweden: They're united without Zlatan Ibrahimovic but struggling for form
- South Korea: Son Heung-Min not enough in tournament's hardest group

GROUP G: Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England
- Belgium: "Golden generation" led by De Bruyne must deliver
- Panama: First World Cup should provide platform to build for future
- Tunisia: Injuries will derail underdogs before they get started
- England: Can Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling carry the Three Lions?

GROUP H: Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan
- Poland: Underestimate Lewandowski & Co. at your peril
- Senegal: It will take more than Sadio Mane to make an impact
- Colombia: James Rodriguez & Co. will accept nothing less than Round of 16
- Japan: Sudden coaching change spells doom