The World Cup is finally here and it’s brought with it all the things we know and love – apart from Italy, the Netherlands and Gareth Bale’s Wales.
We’ve done some handy research on all eight groups so you can impress your trendy soccer-loving work colleagues without having to trawl through Google and be confused about whether Zlatan Ibrahimovic has entered the tournament on his own or not (he hasn’t).
Group A – Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay.
All the talk from Group A surrounds whether Mohamed Salah can recover from a Sergios Ramos shoulder-grinding to steer the Egyptian ship through to the round of 16.
While that’s playing out, there’s the tasty sideshow of an Egpytian lawyer threatening to take Ramos for $1.5 billion for psychologically harming his entire country.
Expect the Pharaohs and Uruguay to go through unless Russia can produce something special or Saudi Arabia are good without me having heard about it.
Fun chant to sing at the TV: Elneny rivers to cross
Group B – Iran, Morocco, Portugal and Spain.
The past two European champions appear locks to advance from the group stages – even if Spain reproduces the form that saw it knocked out in two games in 2014.
After some sickeningly self-adoring celebrations at the 2016 Euros, many will be hoping to see a Cristiano Ronaldo tantrum at some stage of the tournament.
Fun chant to sing at the TV: Iniesta day, all my troubles seemed so far away
Group C – Australia, Denmark, France and Peru.
Australia put four past Czech Republic but it’s hard to see them making it out of this group.
For some bizarre reason Mile Jedinak and fellow group captains Hugo Lloris and Simon Kjaer helped overturn Paolo Guerrero’s doping ban, strengthening the Peru side and sending a message that you can get away with drinking cocaine tea as long as you really, really want to play in a World Cup.
Expect Antoine Griezmann to mime plenty of phone calls on the pitch and his agent to make plenty of phone calls to Barcelona off it.
Fun chant to sing at the TV: I should be so Leckie. Or Mbappe
Group D – Argentina, Croatia, Iceland and Nigeria.
Group D stands for Delicious.
Argentina boasts a forward three of Patagonian skunk-level potency and Lionel Messi will want to tick a World Cup win off his football bucket list so he can retire from the international scene for a second time.
Every team in this group will be worth watching – Iceland was the feel-good story of the Euros, Croatia boasts two of La Liga’s top midfielders in Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric, and Nigeria is packed with Premier League talent such as Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Victor Moses and Wilfred (Yes) Ndidi.
Fun chant to sing at the TV: How do you solve a problem like Di Maria
Group E – Brazil, Costa Rica, Serbia and Switzerland.
Tournament favourite Brazil is always a delight to watch and will welcome Neymar back from injury.
Fred, the 34-year-old centre-forward scapegoated for Brazil’s 2014 campaign exit hasn’t made the squad, but a new Fred 10 years his junior has – kind of like the regeneration of Doctor Who.
Presumably head coach Tite is hoping the new Fred will be what David Tennant was to Christopher Eccleston.
The remaining three teams will each fancy their chances of making it to the round of 16, and all the ladies will fancy Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka.
Fun chant to sing at the TV: I see Fred, I see Fred, I see Fred
Group F – Germany, Korea Republic, Mexico and Sweden.
The reigning champions are as strong as ever and Joachim Low looks a chance to be just the second coach to win two World Cups.
Mario Gotze, the man who scored the winner in the 2014 final has been left out of the German squad, while Sweden is without its star player of the past decade.
Blue-Yellow coach Janne Andersson says Zlat’s the way he likes it (aha aha), but his side will struggle for goals if last week’s 0-0 draw with Denmark, where they had no shots on target, is anything to go by.
Mexico will probably be the second team through.
Fun chant to sing at the TV: Here comes the Son, little Heung Min
Group G – Belgium, England, Panama and Tunisia.
Group G stands for Gift for the Three Lions, who exited after just two matches in South Africa.
Panama is playing its first World Cup and is better known as a hat than a footballing nation, while Tunisia registered its sole World Cup victory in 1978.
It’s hard to see anything but Belgium and England advancing, which means England will play out a cagey 0-0 draw in its opener against Tunisia and get knocked out on goal difference.
Radja Nainggolan was left out of the Belgium squad but remains the most terrifying man on the planet.
Fun chant to sing at the TV: Can we, we keep, keep each other Kompany
Group H – Colombia, Japan, Poland and Senegal.
Radamel Falcao has put two disastrous Premier League campaigns and speculation that he’s actually a 38-year-old behind him to play a great season for Monaco and win a place up top for Colombia.
Poland and Senegal boast world class forwards of their own in Robert Lewandowski and Sadio Mane, while Japan will be keen to improve on its winless 2010 campaign.
Fun chant to sing at the TV: Mane, Mane, Mane