FIFA World Cup 2018 is here at Long Last

As exciting as the game of football is to the bulk of the world, we look forward to having some actual scores to report, perhaps a nil – nil draw or two.

Things will get more interesting then, we promise, and we can look forward to a month of drawn (sorry) out drama around which countries’ heroes can kick or head a ball better than another countries’ can.

The real action is just hours away when Russia has host’s honour of the first game with Saudi Arabia.

Russia is heavily favoured, though not by as great a margin as that of the only game that matters, that between the Socceroos of Australia and Les Bleus of France.

We need a little Group stage magic to liven things up and provide us with some labyrinthine scenarios to mull over.

Two of Australia’s Group C opponents, Peru and Denmark looks like one game that will be a nail biter. The bookies have Peru as a narrow favourite.

Another that appears too close to call will be that between Poland and Senegal, where less than a dollar separates the two sides in the betting lines.

The longest odds we saw for game one of the Group stage are those for the match between Belgium and Panama, where Ladbrokes has Panama priced at $23 to Belgium’s $1.17.

The number of markets continues to expand and we cop to a certain degree of curiosity, just not enough to learn the nature of market 179 for the first game between Russia and Saudi Arabia.

The game between Morocco and Iran has all the earmarks of a mid-east showdown, and we are left wondering if Morocco will fold or rise up after recently learning that its bid to host FIFA World Cup 2026 has evaporated after FIFA decided to take the easy route and award the future tournament to a troika consisting of the U.S., Canada and Mexico.