Google
By Mahita Gajanan
June 14, 2018

Google is celebrating the start of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in its new Google Doodle for Thursday.

The month-long 2018 World Cup kicks off in Russia on June 14, as men’s national teams from 32 countries come together to compete across 11 cities throughout the country.

Google will celebrate the diverse cultures joining to play in the soccer tournament, with a series of Doodles that honors every country by featuring guest artists from each of the 32 nations competing in the World Cup. On Thursday, the Google Doodle incorporated elements from each of the 32 guests artists.

Host country Russia will play Saudi Arabia in the first match of the World Cup at 11 a.m. E.T. on Thursday.

Five South American teams — Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Colombia and Peru — are considered the favorites in this year’s World Cup competition. France and defending champion Germany are expected to be the strongest challengers. And for the first time, Iceland and Panama will have teams representing the countries.

The U.S. men’s national team will not play in the World Cup after losing in the qualifying round to Trinidad and Tobago last October.

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