Saudi Arabia and Russia will set the ball rolling as World Cup Soccer 2018 begins in Moscow

Moscow: The football world cup 2018 tournament will formally begin Thursday evening in Moscow with the first encounter between minnows Saudi Arabia and host country, Russia.

Defending world champions Germany will strive hard to defend its title like Italy and Brazil have done in the past.

In 2014, Germany lifted the coveted world cup trophy after sensational Maria Gotze scored a goal in extra time in the final match to help Germany win their world cup title for the fourth time.

Under the dynamic leadership of their coach Joachim Loew since 2006, the Germans have reached at least the semi-finals of every major soccer tournament.

Besides Germany, the other favourites to win the world cup football this year are Spain, France, Argentina and even Italy or Brazil.

Meanwhile, Russia will be tough to beat on their home turf.

South American giants Brazil have won the world cup record five times followed by Germany who have won the title four times.

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