Key dates, England fixtures and TV channels for the World Cup

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The countdown to the start of the World Cup in Russia is well and truly on.

This year’s tournament will be the 21st World Cup in history and the first to be held in Europe since Germany in 2006.

Brazil, Germany, France and Spain are considered among the favourites for the competition.

England will be hoping for an extended run after being drawn in Group G alongside Panama, Tunisia and Belgium. Gareth Southgate takes charge of the Three Lions at a major tournament for the first time.

When does the World Cup begin?

This summer’s tournament begins in earnest on Thursday 14 June when hosts Russia take on Saudi Arabia in Group A at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

The match will kick-off at 4pm (UK Time) and be available to watch live on ITV.

Supporters can also expect an opening ceremony full of traditional Russian culture complete with big-name performers.

Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull performed at the opening ceremony in Brazil in 2014. Who will we see this time around?

When do England play and where can I watch them?

The Three Lions kick-off their World Cup campaign at 7pm (UK Time) on Monday 18 June with a Group G fixture against Tunisia in Volgograd, which is live on BBC1.

Their second Group G match takes place in Nizhny Novgorod on Saturday 24 June. World Cup debutants Panama are the opponents for a 1pm (UK Time) kick-off, also on BBC1.

England conclude their Group G escapades with a titanic clash against Belgium from Kaliningrad on Thursday 28 June. ITV will screen the tie at 7pm.

Knockout Stages

The last-16 stage gets going from Kazan on Saturday 30 June.

Should England advance through the group stages, they will either play on Monday 2 July (v Group H runners-up) or on Tuesday 3 July (v Group H winners).

There’s a three-day break until the quarter-finals get underway and they will be completed across two days from Wednesday 6 July and Thursday 7 July.

It’s semi-final time on Tuesday 10 July and Wednesday 11 July. The winners of the matches to be played in St Petersburg and Moscow will then advance to the 2018 World Cup final.

World Cup Final

The World Cup Final will take place at 4pm (UK Time) on Sunday 15 July.

BBC will screen the match and have presenter Gary Lineker joined by studio guests likely to include Rio Ferdinand, Alan Shearer and Mark Lawrenson.

ITV’s coverage will be headed by Mark Pougatch and a punditry line-up set to include ex-Manchester United pair Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville.

Who will win the 2018 showpiece? You can bet on the outright winner of the competition here.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Nick Murphy

Nick is a graduate of the University of East Anglia where he doubled up as the sports editor of the student newspaper Concrete. He also supports Dagenham & Redbridge and previously edited the matchday programme at Victoria Road. Other passions include darts, cricket, speedway and horse racing.