Football fever

Football fever
A woman in downtown Moscow walks past a wall painted with an advert for a local bank featuring Argentine forward Lionel Messi ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup begins in mid-June, kicking off a month of matches held at venues across Russia. The countries on the pitch have much at stake — as does FIFA, football's governing body, which is seeking to demonstrate strong corporate governance after a corruption scandal that erupted in 2015 and to show healthy finances. FIFA derives approximately 90% of its revenue through the sale of television, marketing, hospitality, and licensing rights for the World Cup. The teams vying for the championship are Russia, which, as the host nation, automatically qualified for the tournament; Argentina; Australia; Belgium; Brazil; Colombia; Costa Rica; Croatia; Denmark; Egypt; England; France; defending winner Germany; Iceland; Iran; Japan; Korea Republic (South Korea); Mexico; Morocco; Nigeria; Panama; Peru; Poland; Portugal; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Serbia; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Tunisia; and Uruguay.