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Competition begins at 10 a.m. Thursday when host Russia takes on Saudi Arabia on Ch. 9. That’s the only match of the day, with multiple group stage matches following on subsequent days. Here are some other matches to watch:

Portugal vs. Spain, 1 p.m. Friday (Ch. 9): A good early match for rival contenders.

• Costa Rica vs. Serbia, 7 a.m. Sunday (Ch. 9): This is Costa Rica’s opener, and Minnesota United’s Francisco Calvo is on the squad.

• England vs. Belgium, 1 p.m. June 28 (Ch. 9): The final match of group play. If either team suffers an upset early, this match could be critical.

• Round of 16: June 30-July 3, two matches per day, 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. (Ch. 9 and FS1)

• Quarterfinals: July 6-7, 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. (Ch. 9 and FS1)

• Semifinals: July 10-11, 1 p.m., (Ch. 9)

• Final: July 15, 10 a.m. (Ch. 9)

Local viewing options

If you want to watch with a big group, you shouldn’t have much trouble. Brit’s Pub in downtown Minneapolis is screening every game of the World Cup, including most games on their rooftop deck big screen. Nomad World Pub in Minneapolis is offering a “Red Square Passport Package” for $35 that includes a T-shirt and drink specials during the Cup. Several other area bars are sure to have their TVs tuned to the Cup as well, though the time difference from Russia to Minneapolis means all matches will be either morning or early afternoon starts.