In photos: Asia celebrates as World Cup kicks off in Russia
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In photos: Asia celebrates as World Cup kicks off in Russia

WORLD CUP fever is gripping Asia after the biggest show on earth began last Thursday, seeing Saudi Arabia smashed 5-0 by the hosts Russia.

Held every four years, the World Cup 2018 has five teams from the Asian Football Confederation: Australia, Iran, Japan, Korea Republic (South Korea) and Saudi Arabia.

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Saudi women pose with their country’s flag outside the Luzhniki stadium ahead of Saudi Arabia’s soccer World Cup match against Russia in Moscow, Russia June 14, 2018. Picture taken June 14, 2018. Source: Reuters/Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber

SEE ALSO: Asean nations could put in a World Cup bid for 2034

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A Saudi Arabian fan has his face painted before a match against Russia on June 14, 2018. Source: Reuters/Gleb Garanich

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People watch the World Cup Group A Russia vs Saudi Arabia soccer match at a bar in Beijing, China, June 14, 2018. Source: Reuters/Thomas Peter

They’re up against some of the best international sides in the world of the likes of Brazil, France, Germany, Argentina and Spain.

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A boy rides his bicycle past a giant cut out of Argentina’s soccer player Lionel Messi at a roadside, ahead of FIFA World Cup 2018 Group D match between Argentina and Iceland, on the outskirts of Kochi, India, June 15, 2018. Source: Reuters /Sivaram V

Brazil has won the most titles, taking first prize in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002.

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Children of a municipal school exercise in front of a banner of Brazil’s soccer players pasted on a wall in Kolkata, ahead of the FIFA World Cup, in Kolkata, India June 12, 2018. Source: Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri

Italy and the Netherlands did not qualify for the 2018 Cup.

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Soccer fans chat as one of them paints the flags of Portugal and Brazil on the wall, ahead of the FIFA World Cup Russia, in a low-income neighborhood in Karachi, Pakistan June 11, 2018. Source: Reuters/Akhtar Soomro

Interestingly, the highest average turnout for games in a World Cup in history was 68,991 for the United States in 1994 – dwarfing the famous event in France 1998 which attracted an average of 43,517 punters per game.

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A worker makes wigs for soccer fans before the 2018 World Cup kicks off, at a workshop in Qingdao, Shandong province, China June 14, 2018. Source: Reuters

The US has just won its bid to host the World Cup in 2026 along with its North American neighbours Mexico and Canada.

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Jerseys of various players playing at the World Cup are kept on sale outside a shop ahead of the FIFA World Cup, in Bhaktapur, Nepal June 12, 2018 Source: Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar

SEE ALSO: Pay Asian workers fair wages, World Cup sportswear giants Adidas, Nike told

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A soccer fan performs “havan” (traditional Hindu fire ritual) as part of a special prayer for the better performance and win for Brazil in the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia, at Howrah on the outskirts of Kolkata, India, June 14, 2018. Source: Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri

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Kite-makers make kites with pictures of the national flags of the countries participating in the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Russia, at a workshop in Kolkata, India, June 5, 2018. Source: Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri

Australia played World Cup favourites France on Saturday, losing 2-1 after a goal from Paul Pogba in the 81st minute.

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Australian fans pose for a picture with other participants at the Kaliningrad Fan Fest in Russia on June 15, 2018. Source: Reuters/Ivan Alvarado

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South Korean fans react as they watch the broadcast of the World Cup Group F soccer match between Sweden and South Korea, in central Seoul, South Korea, June 18, 2018. Source: Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji

South Korea played Group F opponents Sweden on Monday, losing 1-0. They face two further tough matches against Mexico and Germany.

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Fans watch the broadcast of the World Cup Group F soccer match between Sweden and South Korea, in central Seoul, South Korea, June 18, 2018. Source: Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji

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A woman reacts as she watches the broadcast of the World Cup Group F soccer match between Sweden and South Korea, in central Seoul, South Korea, June 18, 2018. Source: Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji

Japan will play its first group stage match against Colombia on Tuesday.