The FIFA World Cup - The grandest stage of the football world.
Dreams are made and then killed all in the space of a month, and it epitomises why fans across the globe love the sport. The underdogs from normal working life, facing the giants and the most glamourous in the game.
Let me tell you everything you need to know about the 2018 FIFA World Cup:
The considered favourites will undoubtedly be the Germans, having recently won the last global tournament in the Confederations Cup less than 12 months ago, alongside them being the holders of the World Cup. The team is known to be efficient, quick and pass masters. They have the likes of Marco Reus, Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer and Toni Kroos too.
Joining Germany as favourites, Brazil ooze class from the top of the field right down to the bottom. The Brazilians don’t have any shortage of talent with UEFA Champions League winner’s occupying each corner of the dressing room, they will be hard to write off. 16 years have clocked since the last time they picked up the trophy, so they will be hungry for more success.
Players to watch
Lionel Messi, arguably the best player in the world, has the World Cup missing from his well-decorated trophy cabinet. He will be eager to win The World Cup with his Argentinian teammates to equal his closest rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who won the Euro 2016 with Portugal to solidify his achievements with club and country.
Premier League viewers will be watching Egyptian Mohamed Salah who triumphed with Liverpool and picked up the Golden Boot Award and the Premier League Player of the Year award. Questions will be raised whether he can continue to impress with his native side.
The Belgians have been blessed with their ‘Golden Generation’ to represent them in this year’s tournament. Man Utd hitman, Romelu Lukaku continues to score in the Premier League, whilst Kevin De Bruyne keeps getting better and Eden Hazard is looking to succeed with the country. Plenty of eyes will be on their star men to see how far they can get!
The biggest name on the injury list is Brazilian full-back, Dani Alves, who suffered a knee injury. He'll be gutted because this was probably his last realistic chance to get his hands on the World Cup. Another star, who will miss the World Cup, is Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who was troubled with a knee ligament injury during the UEFA Champions League victory semi-final.
The 3 Lions
Finally, England. It happens all too often that we build up our hope to have our dreams crushed before the tournament even starts getting serious. Southgate has a new breed of talent, compared to when the English exited the group stages under Hodgson, 4 years ago.
The likes of Dele Alli, Harry Kane, Jesse Lingard and Raheem Sterling have shone in club colours this season, but English fans will be hoping they can lead the Three Lions to their first international success in more than 50 years.