With the football season drawing to a close – and many of the leagues already settled – fans will be eagerly counting down the days until the start of the World Cup on 14th June.
But before that, there’s another international football extravaganza to look forward to: Soccer Aid, one of the biggest fundraising events in sport.
The biennial match, which has run since 2006, sees an England team take on the Rest of the World, with both squads comprised of a mixture of celebrities and footballing and sporting greats, all in the name of charity.
And even the England World Cup squad are getting behind them.
— Soccer Aid (@socceraid) June 10, 2018
Here’s everything you need to know about the 2018 edition…
- Soccer Aid 2018: meet the teams
- The best women’s sport on TV in 2018
- RadioTimes.com newsletter: get the latest TV and entertainment news direct to your inbox
When is Soccer Aid 2018?
This year’s match is scheduled for Sunday 10th June, just four days before the World Cup kicks off. What better way could there be of getting into the football spirit before the big tournament gets underway?
How can I watch Soccer Aid on TV?
Coverage starts at 6.30pm on ITV on Sunday 10th June.
Where is Soccer Aid being held?
The game will be played at Old Trafford, which has hosted all but one of the previous Soccer Aid matches.
The Rest of The World team arrived in the city on Saturday, ready to take on Robbie Williams’ England squad.
— Soccer Aid (@socceraid) June 9, 2018
Can I still buy tickets?
Yes – if you hurry! You can purchase tickets from the Manchester United website here. They are available from £20 for adults, while all children under 16 can buy a ticket for just £10. And remember: proceeds go to charity.
Who are the teams?
Soccer Aid was originally the brainchild of Robbie Williams, so it’s no surprise that the popstar once again returns to captain the England side. Williams said that he was particularly excited to be joined on the pitch by Mo Farah – and that he’s already been busy practising the Olypic gold medallist’s signature celebratory moves.
— Loose Women (@loosewomen) June 8, 2018
“Every player is a legend to me, but I think getting Sir Mo Farah – an actual knight of the realm – to strap on his boots for England has got to win it for me this year,” Williams said. “I’ve got high hopes for you, Mo – I’ve been practicing my Mo-Bot already!”
The team will contain former international players like Michael Owen, Jamie Redknapp and Robbie Keane, and celebrities including former Homeland star Damian Lewis, singer Olly Murs, comedian Lee Mack and Take Me Out host (and Soccer Aid changing room prankster) Paddy McGuiness.
— martin compston (@martin_compston) June 8, 2018
— Olly Murs (@ollymurs) June 8, 2018
The World XI squad will be skippered by first-time Soccer Aid participant Usain Bolt – and the Olympic sprinter is ready with his fighting talk: “We have players who’ve won the FIFA World Cup, the rugby World Cup and the UEFA Champions League… I think Robbie should be pretty nervous right now.”
Bolt is taking this whole thing very seriously and has even learned some goal celebration dance moves. Magic Mike star Channing Tatum helped the sprinter prepare for victory by giving him a mini dance lesson the Graham Norton Show.
“Robbie, you better be training hard,” Bolt added. “We are coming with our ‘A’ game.”
— Usain St. Leo Bolt (@usainbolt) June 7, 2018
United legend Eric Cantona will also be part of the Rest of the World team, marking a welcome return to Old Trafford: “There is no place like home,” the 51-year-old said.
Other members of the Rest of the World team include 1998 World Cup Winner Robert Pires and dancer Brendan Cole, formerly of Strictly Come Dancing.
Who are the managers?
“Big Sam” Sam Allardyce, former Everton manager, is the lead manager for Soccer Aid’s England team, accompanied by assistant managers Robbie Williams, Bradley Walsh, John Bishop and Ben Shephard. Engalnd’s goal keeping coach is Mike Stowell.
The Rest of the World team is headed up by legendary footballer Eric Cantona, who’s also a player, and Vic Bettinelli is goal keeping coach.
Where do the proceeds go to?
All the proceeds, including ticket sales and public donations, go to Unicef. Since it began in 2006, Soccer Aid has helped raise almost £25 million for the children’s charity, with money going towards vaccine doses, improving drinking water and school facilities. It’s certainly a worthwhile cause.
Who won last time?
England have a rather better record in Soccer Aid than in most major international football tournaments, having won four out of the six matches so far. This includes the match in 2017, when a Jermaine Defoe double helped the home team to a 3-2 victory.