World Cup 2018: All the build-up to the big kick-off in Russia LIVE UPDATES

7 Jun, 2018 15:17
World Cup 2018: All the build-up to the big kick-off in Russia
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© Mladen ANTONOV / AFP

The Russia 2018 World Cup is fast approaching, and we’ll be bringing you all the info you need to know ahead of the big kick-off on June 14. Follow our live updates for the biggest stories on the teams, players, and host nation.

  • 10 June 2018

    11:06 GMT

    Ronaldo revels in warm Russian welcome

    Cristiano Ronaldo got a taste of Russia's famed hospitality when he and the team arrived at their base just outside Moscow yesterday. 

    Team skipper Ronaldo was treated to some 'karavai' - traditional Russian salt bread which is presented to distinguished guests.

    The Portugal star overcame his initial reluctance before sampling the bread - much to the delight of his teammates. 

  • 10:50 GMT

    Socceroos bounce into Russia

    The Australian team have arrived in Kazan, where they will be based for this summer's tournament.

    Veteran striker Tim Cahill - who will be appearing at his fourth World Cup finals - was pictured heading off the plane as sunny skies greeted the team in Tatarstan.

    The Aussies have been drawn in a tough group alongside France, Denmark and Peru, and open their campaign against the French at Kazan Arena on Saturday. 

    They can draw confidence from the fact that none other than managerial great Jose Mourinho has backed them to progress from the group, as he picked the Socceroos and the French to reach the knockout stages as part of RT's exclusive #MatchMourinho World Cup predictions competition. 

  • 10:13 GMT

    World Cup warm-ups continue 

    Yesterday saw a host of World Cup teams in warm-up action.

    Spain beat Tunisia 1-0 in Krasnodar in a game seen by 33,000 fans (see previous update).

    The Spaniards' Group B rivals Morocco defeated Estonia 3-1 thanks to goals from Younes Belhanda, Hakim Ziyech and substitute Youssef En-Nesyri. 

    Australia continued their preparations with a 2-1 win against Hungary, including a strike by 19-year-old Daniel Arzani, who will the youngest player at the World Cup this summer. 

    Russia-bound Sweden and Peru played out a 0-0 draw in Göteborg, which extended the South American team's unbeaten run to 15 games heading into their first World Cup in 36 years. 

    Serbia, who have been drawn in Group E alongside Brazil, Switzerland and Costa Rica, continued their preparations with a 5-1 demolition of Bolivia, which included a stunning strike from Branislav Ivanovic.

    Denmark played Mexico as both teams finalized their preparations, with the Danes running out 2-0 winners in Brondby thanks to goals from Yussuf Poulsen and playmaker Christian Eriksen. 

    France needed a late goal from Kylian Mbappe to spare their blushes at home against World Cup absentees the USA, with the teenager netting on 78 minutes to salvage a 1-1 draw after Julian Green had given the US the lead late in the first half.

    Striker Olivier Giroud was left bloodied after a clash of heads and was taken off, although is expected to be fine for France's opening World Cup game against Australia on June 16. 

  • 09:48 GMT

    Young fans sneak a peek at Spain training

    These Russian fans were desperate to get a glimpse of the Spanish team as they trained at their base in Krasnodar, southern Russia.

    The fans peered under the barriers as Adres Iniesta and his teammates continued their preparations ahead of their opener against Portugal on Friday.

    Spain claimed a 1-0 friendly win against Tunisia in Krasnodar in their final warm-up game on Saturday night, in a game watched by 33,000 local fans. 

  • 08:33 GMT

    Samba Boys among Sunday arrivals

    Five-time champions Brazil are among the six teams expected in Russia later today as the stream of World Cup arrivals continues on Sunday.

    Tite’s team arrive in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, where they will be based for the duration of the tournament.

    Australia’s Socceroos are expected in Kazan – via Moscow – while their Group C rivals France will also be flying in, and will land at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport before making their way to their base at the Hilton hotel in Kostrovo. 

    Fellow Group C team Peru are also pitching up at Sheremetyevo, and will then move on to their base in Khimki, just outside Moscow.

    Russia’s Group A rivals Uruguay and Egypt will both be touching down head of their game in Ekaterinburg on Friday.

    Mo Salah and co will be arriving in Grozny, Chechnya, which will be their base, while Uruguay will be welcomed in Nizhny Novgorod.  

  • 08:00 GMT

    Saturday's flurry of arrivals... 

    Saturday saw a flurry of arrivals as several more teams landed in Russia ahead of the big kick-off on Thursday. Here's a recap on the teams who flew in yesterday. 

    Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal arrived at their base just outside Moscow - and you can check out full coverage of that here

    Ronaldo's great goal-scoring rival Lionel Messi is also already in town, as his Argentina team made an earlier then expected arrival in Russia following the controversial cancelation of their friendly against Israel.

    The two-time World Cup winners are staying in Bronnitsy in Moscow region, around 30 minutes away from Ronaldo and co.   

    World Cup debutants Iceland also made their arrival in southern Russia, and were looking dapper in their light-blue blazers. 

    The Saudis are also in town and are staying in Russia's cultural capital, St. Petersburg, before they make their way to Moscow for Thursday's World Cup curtain-raiser against hosts Russia.   

    Morocco came in overnight, and are continuing their preparations for their first World Cup in 20 years.

  • 09 June 2018

    16:02 GMT

    Ronaldo has landed!

    Portugal have arrived in Russia and have made their way to the team's training base outside the capital, Moscow. 

    Ronaldo and co. were looking dapper as they posed for a photo outside the team's base.

    The European champions will be hoping to get a good week of training in before they take on Spain in Sochi on Friday. 

  • 13:47 GMT

    Portugal fans arrive in Moscow after 12-day drive

    You have to take your hat off to these Portugal fans - they've arrived in Moscow after a 12-day drive from their homeland and have parked their van on New Arbat, one of central Moscow's main thoroughfares.  

    They are planning to head off later to the team's training base in Kratovo, Moscow region, to get a glimpse of Cristiano Ronaldo and co.  

  • 12:20 GMT

    Iceland are Russia-bound! 

    World Cup debutants Iceland are the latest team to set off for Russia. The national team account posted this picture of the players in all their sartorial elegance as they boarded the plane, bound for Gelendzhik on Russia's Black Sea coast.

    They will be based at the Nadezhda Resort Center in the region, and will need to get in as much preparation as they can before taking on a 'Group of Death' containing Argentina, Croatia and Nigeria.

    They open their campaign against a Lionel Messi-led Argentina in Moscow on June 16.     

  • 11:38 GMT

    Youngsters stage pitch invasion at Russia training

    The excitement of watching Russia training at Moscow's VEB Arena proved too much for these youngsters, who burst onto the pitch in an attempt to take selfies with some of the players. 

    Some of the young fans were manhandled by security, but others managed to give them the slip and take photos with the likes of striker Fedor Smolov and defender Mario Fernandes.   

    Russia are continuing their preparations ahead of the World Cup opening game against Saudi Arabia in Moscow on June 14.