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Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto (R) and the President of Coca Cola Company Mexico Manuel Arroyo (L) unveil the FIFA World Cup trophy at the Presidential Palace of Los Pinos in Mexico City, on April 11, 2018. The FIFA World Cup trophy tours 91 cities in 51 countries during a three-month period before the start of the World Cup in Russia. / AFP PHOTO / YURI CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

YURI CORTEZ/Getty Images

The 2018 FIFA World Cup group stages will kick off on Thursday, with hosts Russia starting their Group A campaign against Saudi Arabia.

Neutral fans will have their eye on Friday’s clash between Iberian rivals Spain and Portugal, arguably the most anticipated contest of the group stages. Meanwhile, on Sunday, defending champions Germany and 2002 winners Brazil will be in action for the first time.

Here is a look at the schedule, complete with TV info and live-stream options.

Thursday, June 14

Russia vs. Saudi Arabia, 4 p.m. BST/11 a.m. ET, ITV (UK)/Fox (U.S.)

Friday, June 15

Egypt vs. Uruguay, 1 p.m. BST/8 a.m. ET, BBC (UK)/FS1 (U.S.)

Morocco vs. Iran, 4 p.m. BST/11 a.m. ET, ITV (UK)/Fox (U.S.)

Portugal vs. Spain, 7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET, BBC (UK)/Fox (U.S.)

Saturday, June 16

France vs. Australia, 11 a.m. BST/6 a.m. ET, BBC (UK)/FS1 (U.S.)

Argentina vs. Iceland, 2 p.m. BST/9 a.m. ET, ITV (UK)/Fox (U.S.)

Denmark vs. Peru, 5 p.m. BST/12 p.m. ET, BBC (UK)/FS1 (U.S.)

Croatia vs. Nigeria, 8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET, ITV (UK)/FS1 (U.S.)

Sunday, June 17

Costa Rica vs. Serbia, 1 p.m. BST/8 a.m. ET,  ITV (UK)/Fox (U.S.)

Germany vs. Mexico, 4 p.m. BST/11 a.m. ET, BBC (UK)/FS1 (U.S.)

Brazil vs. Switzerland, 7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET, ITV (UK)/FS1 (U.S.)

Monday, June 18

Sweden vs. South Korea, 1 p.m. BST/8 a.m. ET, ITV (UK)/FS1 (U.S.)

Belgium vs. Panama, 4 p.m. BST/11 a.m. ET, BBC (UK)/FS1 (U.S.)

Tunisia vs. England, 7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET, BBC (UK)/FS1 (U.S.)

Tuesday, June 19

Colombia vs. Japan, 1 p.m. BST/8 a.m. ET, BBC (UK)/FS1 (U.S.)

Poland vs. Senegal, 4 p.m. BST/11 a.m. ET, ITV (UK)/FS1 (U.S.)

Russia vs. Egypt, 7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET, BBC (UK)/Fox (U.S.)

Wednesday, June 20

Portugal vs. Morocco, 1 p.m. BST/8 a.m. ET, BBC (UK)/FS1 (U.S.)

Uruguay vs. Saudi Arabia, 4 p.m. BST/11 a.m. ET, BBC (UK)/Fox (U.S.)

Iran vs. Spain, 7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET, ITV (UK)/Fox (U.S.)

Thursday, June 21

France vs. Peru, 1 p.m. BST/8 a.m. ET, ITV (UK)/FS1 (U.S.)

Denmark vs. Australia, 4 p.m. BST/11 a.m. ET, ITV (UK)/Fox (U.S.)

Argentina vs. Croatia, 7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET, BBC (UK)/Fox (U.S.)

Friday, June 22

Brazil vs. Costa Rica, 1 p.m. BST/8 a.m. ET, ITV (UK)/FS1 (U.S.)

Nigeria vs. Iceland, 4 p.m. BST/11 a.m. ET, BBC (UK)/Fox (U.S.)

Serbia vs. Switzerland, 7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET, BBC (UK)/Fox (U.S.)

Saturday, June 23

Belgium vs. Tunisia, 1 p.m. BST/8 a.m. ET, BBC (UK)/Fox (U.S.)

Germany vs. Sweden, 4 p.m. BST/11 a.m. ET, ITV (UK)/Fox (U.S.)

South Korea vs. Mexico, 7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET, ITV (UK)/Fox (U.S.)

Sunday, June 24

England vs. Panama, 1 p.m. BST/8 a.m. ET, BBC (UK)/FS1 (U.S.)

Japan vs. Senegal, 4 p.m. BST/11 a.m. ET, BBC (UK)/Fox (U.S.)

Poland vs. Colombia, 7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET, ITV (UK)/Fox (U.S.)

Monday, June 25

Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt, 3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET, ITV (UK)/FS1 or Fox (U.S.)

Uruguay vs. Russia, 3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET, ITV (UK)/FS1 or Fox (U.S.)

Iran vs. Portugal, 7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET, BBC (UK)/FS1 or Fox (U.S.)

Spain vs. Morocco, 7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET, BBC (UK)/FS1 or Fox (U.S.)

Tuesday, June 26

Denmark vs. France, 3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET, ITV (UK)/FS1 or Fox (U.S.)

Australia vs. Peru, 3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET, ITV (UK)/FS1 or Fox (U.S.)

Nigeria vs. Argentina, 7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET, BBC (UK)/FS1 or Fox (U.S.)

Croatia vs. Iceland, 7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET, BBC (UK)/FS1 or Fox (U.S.)

Wednesday, June 27

South Korea vs. Germany, 3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET, BBC (UK)/FS1 or Fox (U.S.)

Mexico vs. Sweden, 3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET, BBC (UK)/FS1 or Fox (U.S.)

Serbia vs. Brazil, 7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET, ITV (UK)/FS1 or Fox (U.S.)

Switzerland vs. Costa Rica, 7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET, ITV (UK)/FS1 or Fox (U.S.)

Thursday, June 28

Japan vs. Poland, 3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET, BBC (UK)/FS1 or Fox (U.S.)

Colombia vs. Senegal, 3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET, BBC (UK)/FS1 or Fox (U.S.)

Panama vs. Tunisia, 7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET, ITV (UK)/FS1 or Fox (U.S.)

England vs. Belgium, 7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET, ITV (UK)/FS1 or Fox (U.S.)

For full live-stream links, visit NBC Sports Live Extra or Fox Soccer Match Pass in the U.S., or ITV Hub and BBC iPlayer in the UK.

Russia and Saudi Arabia aren’t exactly giants of football, but the lack of clear favourites for second place in Group A makes this an intriguing opener.

Uruguay are the favourites for first place as the only nation ranked inside the top 20. On paper, Egypt are favoured to join them in the next round, but home-field advantage could play a big role for Russia.

Only one host nation has failed to advance past the group stages, and that was South Africa in 2010.

Things aren’t looking good for Russia, though:

Group B kicks off on Friday, and things should get interesting right away. With Portugal and Spain facing each other first, at least one of those nations is bound to drop points, which could be a major advantage for Morocco or Iran.

If one of those sides wins their opener, they’ll take a lead they can build their game plan around. For Morocco―defensive specialists who didn’t concede a single goal in their final qualifying group―the chance to sit back and counter could lead to an upset at a later time.

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