It all kicks off in the middle of next month (14 June), with England getting their campaign underway four days later against Tunisia.
To help ramp up the anticipation to fever pitch we’ve come up with our own World Cup sweepstake poster. It’s a quick and easy way to get your office, pub or school engaged with the event whilst also helping us to fight meningitis.
All you have to do is download the poster, get your friends and colleagues to randomly pick a team each, pay £1 or £2 into the kitty per team (or other amounts at your discretion) and split the proceeds 50:50 between the competition winners (and runner-up if you wish) and us. Everything you need to know is on the poster. Simple.Thirty-two teams fighting it out
There are 32 teams fighting it out to reach the final on 15 July, by when 64 matches will have been played. It starts with eight groups of four teams who all play each other, with the top two in each group advancing to the knockout stages.
England are in Group G alongside Panama, Belgium and Tunisia. After Tunisia they face Panama on 24 June and Belgium four days later. If (surely when) they finish in the top two in their group they could find themselves facing Poland or Senegal (or Colombia or Japan) from Group H.
So, who do you want to be hoping you get in the draw? Well, speaking to our football pundit expert yesterday (Archie, aged 11) he tells me us the usual suspects - Germany, Brazil, Spain, France or Argentina.Outside chance
Those with an outside chance are Belgium, Nigeria, Croatia and – whisper it softly – England, with the bookmakers putting them at 16 to 1.
But, running a sweepstake to raise money to kick meningitis off the pitch means that whatever happens on the pitch, ultimately everyone’s a winner.
Thanks for the support!