After all the anticipation, it's finally here. Football fans all round the world have been on the edge of their seats waiting for the inaugural game of the 2018 World Cup to kick off between Russia and Saudi Arabia at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium. Then, around a month later, on July 15, the 81,000-seater stadium will play host to the biggest and most important game in world football when the two nations that have made through to the final will battle it out to lift the prized trophy.
Which countries that will be remains to be seen. Early favourites are Brazil, Germany and Spain, but after the controversial sacking of the latter's manager on the eve of the tournament they should perhaps be less of a certainty.
Whoever goes on to be the eventual victors, there will be a great deal of exciting football on the way and who knows which of the smaller nations will do unexpectedly well, just like Iceland and Wales in the 2016 Euros. And maybe there could even be an upset of the magnitude of when Greece became European champions in 2004.
So this is an opportunity to be truly savoured for football fans everywhere before they face the long four-year wait for the next tournament in Qatar in 2022.
As you'd expect for such a major global event, it's going to be impossible to avoid through June and July with countless ways to get in on the action. Even before the first ball has been kicked, England flags had started to appear on cars and vans throughout the UK, although the Royal Mail has already taken a stand by forbidding their drivers to show their patriotism, supposedly on the grounds of health and safety.
Nevertheless, there are many other ways that the country's postal workers, and everyone else besides, will be able to get in on the World Cup fever - and here are just a few of them.
Super deals at supermarkets
If it's anything like the 2014 tournament when all of the major supermarkets predicted that sales of beer and other drinks would double, there will be plenty of ways to celebrate at all of our favourite shops. Whether it's investing in yards of England flag bunting or buying face paints for the family, there are always some great bargains to be had. If the weather's also as good as is being predicted for the summer, there are certain to be some fantastic offers on barbecue food and all sorts of other tasty treats. So maybe get working on some meal ideas featuring the cuisines of the countries who are playing while you party.
Another group of retailers who are ready and poised to help fans celebrate are electrical stores. This is traditionally the time of year when that long-considered plan to invest in a mega-widescreen TV becomes reality. In the run-up to the last World Cup John Lewis saw a 47% increase year on year in their sales of flat-screen TVs. Plus, if England do well in the competition and advance to the quarter finals and even the semis, industry observers predict that even more sales could result. After all, if you're not lucky enough to be in Russia yourself, the next best way to enjoy it will be on a huge screen, complete with cinema-style sound to help you soak up all the atmosphere.
Apple get in on the act
In a similarly technological area, Apple are also helping anyone with one of their devices get into the spirit of the tournament in a number of ways. For example, Siri will put a great deal of World Cup-related information at users' fingertips including kick-off times, live scores, squad news and much more. Heading for the App Store, you'll find apps that will broadcast the games. Then, in Apple Music, you'll also find playlists for each of the 32 participating nations featuring leading artists from the countries in question. Finally, in Apple Podcasts there's a whole editorial section called The Beautiful Game with a great range of features all about football.
Slotting the ball home
Naturally, there are also all the favourite video games that feature football so you could even stage your own tournament on FIFA 18 – and maybe even do better than your national side. Alternatively, you could try your luck at some of the many online slots that, while not directly linked to the World Cup, certainly let you enjoy all the excitement of football while also giving you the chance to win a handy cash prize too.
One of the best ones that you'll find is Champion's Goal. It really captures all the twists and turns of a real game with reels featuring players and fans while pitting blue and red teams against each other. The game can be found at Roseslots, who are building a reputation for specifically targeting female gamers. With World Cup fever in full swing, every demographic is falling in love with football and the bonus features just keep players coming back for more. They include free spins and prize multipliers, and the top prize available is an incredible £200,000.
Another great slots game you could try is called Bicicleta. Now this may sound like it has more to do with the Tour De France but it actually refers to the athletic bicycle kicks that have been responsible for so many spectacular goals. Again, it's packed with plenty of great features like wilds and free spins and comes with a fantastic crowd-noise soundtrack to really ramp up the excitement.
Get yourself kitted out
Of course, no round-up of how to get in the spirit of the World Cup would be complete without something about investing in a replica kit. Although there was some concern when Nike first launched it that, at around £165 for the whole set, it would be beyond the pocket of most fans it does seem to have been a big hit nevertheless – but not as big a hit as Nigeria's vibrant green and white strip which reportedly sold out almost straight away.
So whether or not you're going to be cheering your country on wearing the shirt with pride we hope that you'll enjoy every second of the tournament. And who knows, maybe Gareth Southgate's youthful squad really will be giving us something to celebrate!