The World Cup comes roaring into life on Thursday afternoon, as four years of hard work all boils down to a month-long tournament for the 32 teams involved.
Defending champions Germany are among the favourites to retain their trophy, but look set to be pushed all the way by the likes of Brazil and France. Spain will also be there or thereabouts, but will first have to adapt to their abrupt change of manager on the eve of the finals.
The competition, meanwhile also welcomes two debutants in the form of Iceland and Panama, both of whom will be looking to make an impression in Russia having greatly impressed in their respective qualification campaigns.
High-profile teams such as the Netherlands, Italy, USA and Chile have missed out, but follow the links below for a preview of each team that did qualify, organised by the eight groups into which they have been placed:
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