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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

World Cup 2018: How and who to follow on social media

The handles, the hashtags – who and how to follow all the World Cup action

Nigeria forward Alex Iwobi poses for selfies with fans at the team's first training session at Essentuki Arena in southern Russia ahead of 2018 World Cup. AFP 
Nigeria forward Alex Iwobi poses for selfies with fans at the team's first training session at Essentuki Arena in southern Russia ahead of 2018 World Cup. AFP 

As anticipation for the 2018 World Cup builds, football fans are eagerly awaiting the beautiful game's biggest celebration to kick off in Russia on Thursday. Teams are finalising their preparations and fans are making their way to the country to cheer on their favourites.

While many of us would love to be pitchside and there in the flesh, we're more than likely going to be catching all the action from our sofas or in a festive establishment around town. And for many passionate fans, sharing match commentary on social media will be on the cards. too.

So if you're playing in those spaces, here's a guide on what hashtags to use and who to follow.

Hashtags

There will be many hashtag variations on Twitter and Instagram, so it’s best to follow the source. In this case, Fifa is using #WorldCup, so you should, too. For fans who tweeting in Arabic, use #روسيا2018. If you're looking for one of the 32 country flags, organisers have kindly put together a list, together with a few other hashtag suggestions to suit your language needs:

Our Sports team

From galleries to previews and post-matches, The National sports team are working around the clock to keep you in the loop when it comes to Russia.

Bookmark this page for all things #WorldCup:

www.thenational.ae/sport/world-cup-2018

And follow @NatSportUAE on Twitter

Our experts are on standby and will be tweeting up throughout. We have even dispatched a few to Russia to bring you exclusive coverage as it happens. Follow:

Fifa will keep their handle active before, during and well after the games have ended. They will also have exclusive access to areas that most may not have, so keep an eye on their handles:

Egyptian national soccer team player and Liverpool's star striker Mohammed Salah, right, and Chechen regional leader Ramzan Kadyrov, greets soccer fans as they arrive to attend the Egypt national soccer team training session in Grozny, Russia. AP Photo
Egypt's star striker Mohammed Salah, right, and Chechen regional leader Ramzan Kadyrov greet football fans as they arrive to attend Egypt's training session in Grozny, Russia. AP

The regional teams

In our video published this week, we told you about the four Arab countries representing the region in Russia.

Now you can keep a closer eye on them on Twitter:

Mohamed Salah has become a global superstar thanks to his performance last season for English Premier League club Liverpool. Now all eyes are on him during the World Cup to see if he will be fit enough and ready to help take Egypt all the way to victory. Keep an eye on his Twitter profile: @MoSalah.

Active on the field, active on social media – Cristiano Ronaldo balances football with a very flashy lifestyle on his Twitter page. More than 73 million people enjoy his ramblings, so if you aren't already one of them, then follow the one and only @Cristiano.

Brazil's Neymar is eager to get his World Cup campaign ready if his Insta stories are anything to go by. If you're a fan of the striker, his profile is one to check out: www.instagram.com/neymarjr

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The entertainers

If previous performances are anything to go by, singer Robbie Williams will bring his A-game to the opening ceremony. He's already told his 2.6 million followers how excited he is to be part of the football tournament:

Actor and singer Will Smith has teamed up with Nicky James and Era Istrefi for the official world cup anthem Live It Up. While it's unknown if he will also be at the opening ceremony, there are bound to be moments throughout the tournament where the star will share fan videos and general hilarious commentary on his Instagram account. Keep an eye on that one:

If you haven't seen the video, watch it below:

And finally, if you're looking for some alternative analysis both on and off the pitch, check out this parody account of English footballer James Milner: www.twitter.com/BoringMilner.

You can, of course, follow his real account for a more accurate account, too: www.twitter.com/jamesmilner.