News & Opinion

The Guardian launches World Cup season with a host of new features

The Guardian and The Observer announce interactive ways to engage with the tournament, as well as a host of features, commentary and live blogs to keep readers up to date with every goal.

Initiatives include:

  • Football legends Marcel Desailly, Thomas Hitzlsperger and Marta as exclusive guest writers for both The Guardian and The Observer (more details below)
  • The Football Weekly podcast, hosted by Max Rushden, will go daily from the 14 June to 15 July with the name the World Cup Daily (more details below)
  • An interactive 'Golden Boot' tracker, helping readers keep up to date with the top scorers in the tournament
  • The definitive Guardian squad guide - written by local journalists from all 32 World Cup countries. The guide features profiles of all 736 players in the tournament. With a newly improved tool for this year, readers will also be able to rate players in every game
  • World Cup all-time XIs - new for this year, this interactive lets readers choose their best World Cup teams of all time by dragging players onto a virtual football pitch and compare to the choices of former professional players from World Cup teams over the years - including Claudio Suárez, Andreas Brehme and Cafu
  • A special World Cup Fiver email every day for subscribers, giving readers a witty round up of the day’s matches along with news and gossip. Sign up here
  • In print, the classic A5 World Cup guide, with squad-by-squad insights for all teams published in the Guardian (9 June). In addition, the return of the World Cup wallchart in The Observer (10 June)
  • Game by game analysis from The Guardian's award-winning sports team including Martha Kelner and Amy Lawrence as well as commentary - and humour - from Marina Hyde and cartoonist David Squires

Desailly is the former captain of French national team and has played in two winning teams for France, in the 1998 World Cup and the Euros in 2000. Hitzlsperger won 52 caps for Germany and reached the finals with Germany's World Cup team in 2006. Marta has played 133 times for Brazil and won the Golden Boot as top scorer in the 2007 Women's World Cup.

With all three guest writers experienced in playing top level football, they will be giving their insights on what it’s like to play in the higher leagues and also offer their analysis on the matches throughout the tournament.

Meanwhile, the World Cup Daily podcast will give listeners a daily dose of punditry and analysis on this year's tournament. The special daily version of the UK's leading football podcast will be hosted by Max Rushden and feature regular pundits, including Barry Glendenning, Philippe Auclair, Paolo Bandini, Paul MacInnes, John Ashdown and many others, as well as phone interviews with Guardian reporters on the ground in Russia, including Daniel TaylorBarney Ronay and Spanish football expert Sid Lowe.

Rushden said: "I can't wait to host our World Cup Daily podcast - I genuinely love doing the pod - although I'm much better in the mornings, so I can't be held responsible for the quality of these late evening shows. I'd say that I'm also excited about spending more time with Barry, but I think every day for a month might see our incredible bromance implode into an abyss of hatred and nothingness - either way, should be fun to listen to."

Will Woodward, head of sport at Guardian News & Media, added: "We're pleased to have three football legends on board to give their unique insights into the sport at the top levels. This year, we're also offering readers the most interactive coverage of the World Cup we've ever done. From world class commentary and analysis from our award-winning sports writers and top-class columnists, to exciting features and a daily version of our Football Weekly podcast, we're looking forward to giving our readers around the world great coverage in the run-up to Russia 2018 and throughout the tournament."

by Jessie Sampson 11/06/18

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