Zee Media Bureau/Chaitan Papnai
New Delhi: Despite all protests and controversies in the host nation Brazil, FIFA World Cup is due to begin tomorrow with much fanfare and will continue to hog the limelight, all around the globe, for the next one month. The world`s biggest single sporting extravaganza will officially kick-off from June 12, when the host nation will lock horns with Croatia in the opening match of the tournament.
Brazil, the host nation, is the only country to have participated in every edition of the tournament and this time also they are one of the top contenders to lift the trophy.
In the 20th edition of the World Cup, 32 teams will fight for the the prestigious trophy in 64 matches, which will take place in 12 stadiums across Brazil. The final match will be held on July 13 at the historic Maracana stadium.
Apart from the gruelling battles on the field, another important aspects would be the temperature and goal line technology. Where heat and humidity can play crucial roles during the 20th edition, the goal line technology, which will be used for the very first time in the history of the tournament, will be a special feature for the lovers of the sport.
Defending champions Spain are the likely favourites to defend their title but the other teams which are also ranked high apart from the host nation are Germany, Netherlands and Argentina.
But the team that might come out as a dark horse of the tournament would be Belgium which are highly capable of winning their maiden title.
Top players, to be more precise, strikers who would be closely watched in this edition are Edin Zenko (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Miroslav Klose (Germany), Romelu Lukaku (Belgium), Mario Mandžukic (Croatia), Wayne Rooney (England), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) and Lionel Messi (Argentina) that can give the opposition defenders sleepless nights.
So, as the football carnival is about to kick-off, just be prepared to see some thrilling action on the ground for the next one month..