Bluffer's guide to football
You don’t need to master the entire history of wins and losses, but it's helpful to know some basic facts about the World Cup, which happens once every four years. The sitting champion is Germany – who was unceremoniously kicked out during the group stages this year. Brazil won five times, Germany and Italy each have four titles, Argentina and Uruguay have two titles each, while England, France, and Spain have one title each. This means that France stands to win its second World Cup on Sunday, while Croatia is a first-time contender for the coveted gold trophy.
This is an easy one – there's only one match left so it’s either France or Croatia. Once you’ve picked your team, memorise the names of some of its key players (for example, Kylian Mbappé for France, Luka Modrić for Croatia) and Google the teams’ scores for the last few games so you can reference these casually throughout the evening. Alternatively, if you really want to stand out, play the part of the disgruntled fan, whose favourite team was robbed of a chance for World Cup glory this year.
It probably helps to know how the final is structured. Each game is made up of two 45-minutes halves with a 15-minutes break in between. For the final, if the score is tied at the end of 90 minutes, then the game goes onto 30 minutes of overtime. If the score is still tied, then there’s a penalty shootout with each team getting five penalty kicks, taking the game to the wee hours of the morning, at which point you would've probably had too many drinks to function properly at the office on Monday. Let’s hope it doesn’t come down to that.
Speaking of drinks, if you really want to blend in with the crowd, the only acceptable type of boozing during football is a pint or a bottle of beer. It can be craft beer if you're fancy.
This World Cup saw Brazilian football sensation Neymar take the stage – just not in the way his country had hoped for. Neymar's on-pitch diving antics irked football fans worldwide and online, resulting in the #NeymarChallenge with people mimicking him by dropping to the floor and tumbling dramatically as soon as someone brushes past with minimal contact. If you want to seem like you’re in the know, look for any opportunity to work this reference into Sunday’s conversations.
If all else fails, just let others do most of the commentary while you sit and nod, or act surprised. If someone does ask you for your opnion, keep it generic with something like: “The world cup this year has been crazy! Nothing went the way I expected.”
Watch the game
World Cup 2018 is here! If respectable, sedate appreciation of the beautiful game from the comfort of your home isn’t your thing, there are plenty of lively bars showing many, if not all, games this tournament. Here are our top picks for places to soak up the atmosphere and savour the action.