It wouldn’t be the World Cup if we didn’t dispense with experts, odds, analysis, form etc and put the fates of teams into the hands, tentacles or trunks of animals. At the 2010 World Cup it was Paul the Octopus. This time Marcus the Pig has picked the four semi finalists for Russia 2018 world cup – Nigeria, Argentina, Belgium and Uruguay. Achilles the Psychic Cat has called the opener in favour of Russia (against Saudi Arabia), and Nelly the Elephant looks to pick up where she left off four years ago. Nelly has predicted a win for Germany in their opening group game of the 2018 World Cup against Mexico. We are watching.
No football in Kaliningrad, Russia until Saturday when the Super Eagles of Nigeria face Croatia. Preparations are continuing at pace as everyone is trying to get their work done in time to watch the big kick off 1,200km always in Moscow.
Arsenal will play Manchester City and Chelsea in their opening two matches of the 2018/19 Premier League season. New Gunners boss Unai Emery will host defending champions City first up. The season kicks off on Saturday 11 August.