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After four years of qualifying, trash-talking, and buildup, the World Cup is finally here. With the eyes of the world settled squarely on Brazil, 32 teams are set to vie for the most coveted trophy in all of sports. Though soccer (or football, for the hardcore) still jostles for attention Stateside, it's the most popular sport on the planet everywhere else. By a long shot. This is sport at its most dramatic, grandiose, and awe-inspiring and should be required viewing for all, soccer fans or otherwise.
If you happen to fall in the latter category, fear not. We've compiled a list of seven of the most captivating story lines to follow as the next month unfolds. There's an emerging superstar on a quest for immortality. A world power still trying to find its legs. An embattled host country looking to save face. It's a tournament rife with great theater, and it all starts now. So, grab an icy pint, hunker down at your favorite pub, and fall in love with The Beautiful Game, whether you're late to the party or not.
Photo: Offside/REX USA.