How to watch the 2018 World Cup: TV schedule, groups, odds and what you need to know

When does the tournament start?

Thursday, when host nation Russia faces Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, which is also the venue for the July 15 final. The opening game pits the lowest-ranked teams in the tournament with Russia at No. 70 in the FIFA world rankings and Saudi Arabia at No. 67.

How can I watch the games?

Fox Sports owns the exclusive broadcast rights in the United States, with games to be shown live on Fox (chs. 45, 5) and Fox Sports 1, as well as online at foxsports.com. For Spanish telecasts, check out Telemundo and NBC Universo.


For those interested in online streaming, FUBO, YouTubeTV and Hulu are among several providers to choose from.

Why isn’t the United States playing?

The Americans went 3-3-4 in the CONCACAF and finished second-to-last (between Honduras and Trinidad & Tobago), failing to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 32 years and robbing 19-year-old phenom Christian Pulisic of a chance to play on the international stage.


Who else didn’t make it?

Four-time champion Italy failed to qualify for the first time in 60 years, while the Netherlands will miss its first World Cup since 2002. Chile also didn’t make it despite playing Germany in the Confederations Cup final in 2017.

Who’s the favorite?

According to VegasInsider, Brazil is the top choice among oddsmakers at 4-1, followed by Germany (5-1), Spain (6-1), France (13-2), Argentina (9-1), Belgium (11-1), England (16-1), Portugal (25-1) and Uruguay (25-1). Panama, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia are tied for the longest odds at 750-1.

The basics

The 32 qualifying teams have been divided into eight groups of four, and the tournament features 64 games across four weeks. Each team plays the others in the group and the two teams with the most points advance to the Round of 16. Three points are awarded for a victory, one for a tie and none for a loss. When there is a points tie, the first tiebreaker is goal difference (goals-for minus goals-against) in group matches. It gets a little more complicated after that.

Once the Round of 16 is determined, the tournament enters its “knockout” stage, with the winner moving on in the bracket. Round of 16 matchups are determined as follows: Winner of Group A faces runner-up in Group B, winner of Group C faces runner-up in Group D, and so on down the line. Here’s a look at the bracket for a visual representation.


From the Round of 16 on, two extra periods of 15 minutes are played if a match ends tied in regulation. If still tied, a penalty kick shootout is used to determine the winner.

After eight years of planning and billions of dollars in spending, the 2018 World Cup kick offs Thursday, and more than the competing teams have a lot riding on the outcome.

Groups, plus odds to advance

Teams listed in order of most likely to least likely to advance to Round of 16

Group A

» Uruguay (EVEN), Russia (+125), Egypt (+550), Saudi Arabia (+3300)

Group B

» Spain (-200), Portugal (+185), Morocco (+1600), Iran (+2500)

Group C

» France (-350), Denmark (+450), Peru (+900), Australia (+1800)

Group D

Argentina (-180), Croatia (+225), Nigeria (+1000), Iceland (+1200)

Group E

Brazil (-400), Switzerland (+600), Serbia (+800), Costa Rica (+1800)

Group F

Germany (-310), Mexico (+500), Sweden (+600), South Korea (+2000)

Group G

Belgium (-125), England (+120), Tunisia (+1600), Panama (+2500)

Group H

Colombia (+120), Poland (+175), Senegal (+500), Japan (+700)

TV schedule

All times Eastern Standard Time


Thursday, June 14

» Russia vs. Saudi Arabia, 11 a.m., Fox

Friday, June 15

» Egypt vs. Uruguay, 8 a.m., Fox Sports 1

» Morocco vs. Iran, 11 a.m., Fox

» Portugal vs. Spain, 2 p.m., Fox

Saturday, June 16

» France vs. Australia, 6 a.m., FS1

» Argentina vs. Iceland, 9 a.m., Fox

» Peru vs. Denmark, noon, FS1

» Croatia vs. Nigeria, 3 p.m., FS1

Sunday, June 17

» Costa Rica vs. Serbia, 8 a.m., Fox

» Germany vs. Mexico, 11 a.m., Fox

» Brazil vs. Switzerland, 2 p.m., FS1

Monday, June 18

» Sweden vs. South Korea, 8 a.m., FS1

» Belgium vs. Panama, 11 a.m., FS1

» Tunisia vs. England, 2 p.m., FS1

Tuesday, June 19

» Colombia vs. Japan, 8 a.m., FS1

» Poland vs. Senegal, 11 a.m., Fox

» Russia vs. Egypt, 2 p.m., Fox

Wednesday, June 20

» Portugal vs. Morocco, 8 a.m., FS1

» Uruguay vs. Saudi Arabia, 11 a.m., Fox

» Iran vs. Spain, 2 p.m., Fox

Thursday, June 21

» Denmark vs. Australia, 8 a.m., FS1

» France vs. Peru, 11 a.m., Fox

» Argentina vs. Croatia, 2 p.m., Fox

Friday, June 22

» Brazil vs. Costa Rica, 8 a.m., FS1

» Nigeria vs. Iceland, 11 a.m., Fox

» Serbia vs. Switzerland, 2 p.m., Fox

Saturday, June 23

» Belgium vs. Tunisia, 8 a.m., Fox

» South Korea vs. Mexico, 11 a.m., Fox

» Germany vs. Sweden, 2 p.m., Fox

Sunday, June 24

» England vs. Panama, 8 a.m., FS1

» Japan vs. Senegal, 11 a.m., Fox

» Poland vs. Colombia, 2 p.m., Fox

Monday, June 25

» Uruguay vs. Russia, 10 a.m., Fox

» Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt, 10 a.m., FS1

» Spain vs. Morocco, 2 p.m., FS1

» Iran vs. Portugal, 2 p.m., Fox

Tuesday, June 26

» Denmark vs. France, 10 a.m., Fox

» Australia vs. Peru, 10 a.m., FS1

» Iceland vs. Croatia, 2 p.m., FS1

» Nigeria vs. Argentina, 2 p.m., Fox

Wednesday, June 27

» Mexico vs. Sweden, 10 a.m., Fox

» South Korea vs. Germany, 10 a.m., FS1

» Serbia vs. Brazil, 2 p.m., Fox

» Switzerland vs. Costa Rica, 2 p.m., FS1

Thursday, June 28

» Senegal vs. Colombia, 10 a.m., Fox

» Japan vs. Poland, 10 a.m., FS1

» England vs. Belgium, 2 p.m., Fox

» Panama vs. Tunisia, 2 p.m., FS1