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Germany set to jet in to Russia as Belgium turn on the style

AFP  |  Moscow 

Reigning champions are set to arrive in on Tuesday to join party as served notice of their threat with a dazzling display in their final warm-up match.

Gareth Southgate's youthful England team are also due to touch down as anticipation mounts ahead of Thursday's opening fixture in between host nation and

But before the action on the pitch gets under way, members have the weighty matter of choosing whether to award to or Germany, who beat in the final in four years ago, are aiming to join as five-times winners of the trophy but there are questions over their form coming into the tournament.

Joachim Loew's side went five games without a win before labouring to a 2-1 victory over in their final warm-up in Leverkusen on Friday and has hardly played since September.

But the Germans have made at least the semi-finals in each of the past four World Cups and have a habit of finding form when they need it most.

The defending champions open their against on June 17 in They also play and in Group F.

are not flying to to see the sights, "but to win the tournament," said

England are not among the favourites in Russia but the third-youngest Three Lions squad to head to a World Cup boasts stars such as Harry Kane, and

"We have a young, hungry team that wants to achieve greatness, we want to bring the country together and achieve something great," said Alli.

England's Group G opponents showcased their talents in a 4-1 victory against in on Monday, featuring a powerful brace from Manchester United forward and a glittering performance from Chelsea's Eden Hazard.

Hazard limped off with 20 minutes to go but his team-mates dispelled fears of lasting damage.

"I'm not too worried about Eden, he's a tough guy. He gets kicked all the time, but soon gets over it," said Lukaku.

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members will decide on Wednesday whether to vote for a joint US-bid or whether -- which will feature 48 teams for the first time -- will return to for only the second time in 2026.

A evaluation report earlier this month classified the north African nation's stadiums, accommodation and transport as "high risk", leaving the joint US-bid as the

But the North American bid has been dogged by concerns that the vote could become a referendum on the popularity of US

On Monday, repeated a message he has hammered out again and again in recent months -- vote on us, not Trump.

"We believe strongly that this decision will be made on its merits," Cordeiro said in a conference call with reporters.

"This is not geopolitics, we're talking about and what is fundamentally, at the end of the day, the best interest of and our footballing community... We've had no backlash." Russia was a disputed choice when it was handed in a closely watched 2010 vote that has since been tainted by bribery charges, and the 2018 tournament takes place against a background of international tensions.

Russia and the West have engaged in a major wave of tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions since accused of being behind the of in Britain in March.

But as the clock ticks down to the opener in Moscow's imposing 80,000-capacity Luzhniki stadium, the tournament is beginning to catch the public mood, with about 3,500 fans attending Australia's training session in the central city of

The atmosphere was also building near the Kremlin in central Moscow, where scores of fans gathered, banging drums, blowing whistles and posing for pictures with locals as darkness fell.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, June 12 2018. 12:35 IST