The 2018 FIFA World Cup officially starts Thursday in Russia, with the host country facing Saudi Arabia for the opening game.
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On Friday, three big games will be held in Russia, and here is what you need to know.
First, Uruguay and Egypt will play at 8am EST in Yekaterinburg. Egypt’s big star is Mo Salah, a forward who plays for Liverpool FC. However, Uruguay is the favorite to win this matchup, as it counts major stars like Luis Suarez, a Barcelona striker, and Atletico Madrid standouts Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez. Uruguay is unbeaten in four of its last five games. Russia and Saudi Arabia are group-mates with Egypt and Uruguay.
This matchup will air on Fox Sports 1.
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Iran and Morocco will face off at 11am EST on Friday in St. Petersburg for the second matchup of the day. These two national teams will face a tough challenge in hoping to take the top two spots and advance to the second round, as they were paired with two European powerhouses in their group: Spain and Portugal.
Morocco is back in the World Cup for the first time since 1998. The African country is on an 18-game undefeated streak and have had a few big wins recently, including a 2-0 victory over Serbia.
This is the fourth of the last six World Cups that Iran has qualified for. The Middle Eastern team has also secured several victories under former Manchester United coach Carlos Queiroz, who has been with the team for more than seven years. Iran has only lost twice in the last 16 games. They tied Russia recently and beat Montenegro and Algeria.
Most reports predict that Morocco is the favorite to win this game, as that team counts a stronger roster of players who have competed in top European clubs. This game will air on Fox.
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Spain and Portugal will close out Friday’s games. The two nations will play at 2pm EST in Sochi.
Spain just fired its head coach, Basque native Julen Lopetegui, on Wednesday, a development that will surely put the 2010 World Cup champions in a tough spot. Lopetegui is next set to coach Real Madrid while Fernando Hierro, the Spanish national team’s sporting director, will reportedly take over as Spain’s coach for the tournament.
Portugal are the reigning European cup champions after defeating France in 2016. Recently, they have only lost to the Netherlands.
Spain, meanwhile, is undefeated since it was eliminated by Italy in the Euro 2016 tournament. Spain recently crushed Argentina 6-1.
In the last meeting between Spain and Portugal, in 2012, the former team won on penalties after a 0-0 tie. There are mixed predictions as to who could win this time around, although some polls have Spain winning.
This game will also air on Fox.
Spanish-language channels Telemundo and NBC Universo are also scheduled to air all games.