It’s World Cup week. Finally. The planet’s greatest sporting event, and a given quadrennium’s greatest month, kicks off on Thursday, June 14, 2018. Whether you are a casual sports fan or a die hard, you need to know when to call in sick to work; when to urge your favourite bar to open early; when to schedule family outings; when to run errands. Very few people will watch every single game of a World Cup. There are 64 of them, after all. So we’ve put together a handy guide to the 2018 World Cup group stage. The following 1-48 ranking of the group games by watchability will help you decide which to mark on your calendar and which to skip. Source: Yahoo!Sports
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It’s the last two European champions. It’s neighbors. It’s Cristiano Ronaldo vs. arguably the best team in the world. It’s the second day of the tournament. You CAN'T miss this!
There’s even more potential for entertainment here than in the Iberian derby. There’s real upset potential – Germany looks at least somewhat vulnerable. And there are stakes. Oh, man, there are stakes. The loser will likely end up facing Brazil in the Round of 16 – if it makes it out of Group F at all.
This is as much a narrative pick as a soccer pick. There’s a chance Argentina romps. But La Albiceleste also look ripe for frustration. Iceland is built to inflict just that. It would be the biggest upset that’s actually possible.
There will be so much talent on the field – and no telling how it will match up or perform.
A tremendous clash of unorganised, potentially under performing talent and a valiant, likeable, potentially overachieving unit. You’re going to fall in love with Peru!
If Nigeria’s 4-2 victory over Argentina in November was any indication … yeah, you’re going to want to be parked in front of a TV. But again, there’s dead rubber potential.
It’s the World Cup opener. Never mind that it’s the least appealing World Cup opener ever. If you’re a soccer fan, you watch the World Cup opener.
On paper, it belongs in the top tier. But if both teams win their first two games – the expected outcomes – it might not mean much. So planning a day off of work is dicey.
There’s a very good chance this Matchday 3 showdown is decisive. Also a very good chance it’ll be riveting, especially if both teams crave a win.
If Portugal loses to Spain and Morocco beats Iran on Matchday 1, the pressure will be on the Portuguese. Pressure creates drama. Portugal could be in a similar situation to the one it found itself in four years ago against the U.S.
There’s just something about getting a first look at a favourite; at this team you’ve read so much about, and maybe even picked to win it all, knowing all along that your evidence is more theoretical than actual. Even if Brazil’s opening opponent is dull, the Selecao‘s first game will be a spectacle.
Will this England team actually be different? An entire nation might self-destruct if it stumbles against Tunisia.
Sweden is going to be the most boring team at the tournament. But, unfortunately, it’s not a pushover. And this contest, especially if Mexico loses to Germany, could be for a place in the knockout round.
A clash of styles, and a whole bunch of implications in Group H, which is completely there for the taking.
It all depends on scenarios. But if France slips up in one of its first two matches, this should be tremendous theatre.
A battle of Group C’s two middle-tier teams will set the tone for the rest of the round robin. And it’ll be Peru’s first World Cup game since 1982.
Potential for Brazilian exasperation or the soccer equivalent of a fireworks display. Or boredom.
Portugal might need a result. Iran is capable of denying Ronaldo and co.
Starpower? Check. But less so if Mohamed Salah doesn’t recovery from a shoulder injury in time. And it won’t exactly be a free-flowing game.
Watch for one team, not the other!
Watch it for the Spaniards!
OK, this doesn’t really fit the tier’s title. But Salah will certainly be back, and could condemn Russia to failure.
Spain could struggle here. Tension levels, though, will depend on Matchday 1 results.
It’s our first look at France, the biggest name that could bump into group stage obstacles. But it’s also super early in the morning.
There’s definitely going to be a silly red card in this game. Top three candidates are Blas Perez (obviously), Dele Alli and Roman Torres.
Luis Suarez potentially sticking the dagger in the hosts? Sign us up.
Should be Matchday 3 implications here.
If you aren't too busy, you can give this a shot!
If you have too much time in hand!
First look at Belgium, but we won’t learn much.
Could be 5-0. Could also be a dull 2-0.
Root for a winner, as opposed to a draw, because that ups the ante in the Portugal-Spain clash an hour after the conclusion of this one.
If you don't have anything else to do, watch this game!
If you have an hour to spare...
Should be the Group E decider.
Squeaky bum time if Mexico loses to Germany and doesn’t get an early goal here. Oh, also, you should watch every Mexico game.
You can skip this to hang out with friends!
Use this time to get your groceries done!
Only a die hard fan will watch this game!
Only tune in if it matters.
Iceland is a great story, but this has a chance to be very dull.
You might as well plan a party of your own and skip the match!
This is going to be boring!
Do something useful with your time!
Get some sleep, clean your room, do the task you have been putting off for the World Cup. Nothing but this match.
Nondescript teams. early Monday morning. I might even sleep in and skip this one.
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