Russia 2018 “The Tournament of Dreams”.
However, as Statista’s Martin Armstrong notes, for anyone aside from Russia and Saudi Arabia fans though, the opening game of this year’s elite tournament looks more like a footballing nightmare.
A far cry from the days where the current holders automatically kicked the tournament off, the two teams raising the curtain this time round will be the two currently lowest ranked in the whole competition.
When looking through the FIFA World Rankings back to USA ’94, you start to get some context for just how poor, at least on paper, this opening match-up is.
You will find more infographics at Statista
When combining the world rankings of the participating teams at the time of the opening match, 2014 provided the most mouth-watering clash with Brazil (3) and Croatia (18) making a total ranking of 21. It’s also fair to say that this game lived up to expectations, with the hosts initially going behind early on before staging an impressive three goal comeback.
In Russia though, the two teams combine to make a rank of 133 – the highest of the last seven tournaments.
Of course, you don’t necessarily need big names and world beaters to make for a good game of football. We may well end up being pleasantly surprised come this afternoon.