TV preview: FIFA World Cup Live 2014

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They think it’s all over - and it is now. We’re talking about the agonisingly long wait football fans have had to endure before the start of the World Cup in Brazil, of course.

For months, pundits and journalists have been speculating about what may happen during the competition’s 20th staging, whether or not the two greatest players in the world today – Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal – will turn on the style and, of course, which nation will lift the famous gold trophy.

Hopes for England’s success are not high, but without the overwhelming pressure they usually face, will Roy Hodgson’s boys surprise a few teams? Perhaps. We’ll keep our fingers crossed anyway.

While the conditions and a tough opening group are not in England’s favour, they do at least have youth on their side – the likes of Ross Barkley, Raheem Sterling and Luke Shaw will benefit from the experience and that bodes well for the next tournament in four years time.

Whatever happens, it should be a real spectacle – but what is Adrian Chiles, anchorman of ITV’s coverage of the event, looking forward to the most?

“A World Cup. In Brazil. What’s not to die for? The greatest tournament in the world staged in the greatest footballing nation in the world. What an absolute privilege to be there.”

Chiles certainly has an odd view of who might win.

“I have a hunch that an outsider might win it this time. And by that I mean someone ranked alongside England or lower. My colleagues at ITV keep telling me I’m talking nonsense, that the best teams win the World Cup and that’s generally true.

“But I just wonder if someone could do what Denmark and, more recently, Greece did in the Euros. I know there’s an extra knockout round to get through but this does seem to be the era of slightly inferior teams finding ways to win without having much of the ball.”

The opening match traditionally features the host nation, and this year is no different.

Brazil will take on Croatia at the Arena de Sao Paulo, a stadium that has hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons as three people died during construction work and it struggled to be ready for the big kick-off.

Before that, it’s the opening ceremony – and if there isn’t a dash of samba we’ll eat referee Howard Webb’s whistle.

FIFA WORLD CUP LIVE 2014, ITV, THURSDAY 9pm

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