With just two days to go until the 20th staging of the World Cup we take a look at what’s in stall for the millions of football fans worldwide.
Some 600 thousand fans are expected to descend upon Brazil for the country’s second staging of FIFA’s month-long football extravaganza, 64 years after the first.
Twelve stadiums in twelve cities across the country will play host to this year’s finals which have cost the country an estimated nine billion euros.
From the challenging climate of the Amazon jungle in Manaus in the north west to the southern coastal city of Porto Alegre.
32 nations and 736 players will battle it out for international football’s most coveted prize.
It all begins on Thursday in Sao Paulo with Brazil taking on Croatia as they did in their 2006 opener.
Two teams will square off for glory and the 18-carat gold trophy in the final on July 13th at the iconic Maracana stadium in Rio.
World Cup in numbers
Out of 19 editions so far only eight teams have lifted the trophy once or more.
Brazil, Italy, Germany, Uruguay, Argentina, England, France and Spain.
Brazil have won a record five titles – they’ll be looking to stretch that to six on home soil come July 13th.
Brazil and Germany have both appeared in a record seven finals – they reached that number together in the 2002 final in Yokohama, Japan.
Pele – one of the most recognisable faces in world football – also the player with the most titles – Pele has won the World Cup three times.
Three players have participated in a record five World Cups – Lothar Matthaus, Gigi Buffon joins the club this year and Mexican Antonio Carbajal.
Brazilian Ronaldo has scored the most goals in World Cup history – he found the net 15 times in total over three editions.
Just Fontaine however holds the record for the number of goals in a single world cup – the France striker hit 13 goals in 1958.
There are only two World Cup winning coaches in this year’s tournament.
Brazil’s Luiz Felipe Scolari guided his side to the title in 2002 and will attempt to do the same for his nation on home soil while Vicente Del Bosque steered reigning champs Spain to the crown last time out.
Spain are now looking to join Italy (1934 and 1938) and Brazil ( 1958 and 1962) in winning back to back titles.
What World Cup would be the same without a few predictions.
We start ours – of course – with the opening match in Sao Paulo.
Although a few members of the team feel Croatia could cause an upset on day one the overriding belief is that Brazil will prevail.
As the hopes of a nation weigh heavily on their shoulders we predict the host side will kick-start their campaign for a sixth title with a 2-1 win, but we could be wrong.
Have a go yourself and send us your predictions using #TheCornerScores on facebook or twitter.