A sweepstakers' guide to Football World Cup 2018

So you know nothing about sport, but somehow you've been dragged into the office Football World Cup sweepstake - what chance do you really have of winning?

The first thing you need to know is, in this case, 'football' refers to the round-ball code, often known as soccer.

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Every four years, the world's top sides emerge from an almost never-ending qualifying process for a tournament that begins with group play and then turns to a knockout format for the best 16 teams.

This year, 32 teams have gathered in Russia, with the host nation facing Saudi Arabia in the opening game on Friday morning (NZ time).

It's probably the world's biggest sporting event outside of the Olympic Games and even non-sporty types are likely to be sucked into the vortex of an office sweepstake, where you could end up drawing Senegal or Iran or some country you've never heard of before.

It's also like the Melbourne Cup - that one day of the year where horse-racing rookies become instant experts.

Newshub has produced a stylised kit that will help your workplace set up its own sweepstake.

But once you've drawn your team, just how good are your winning chances? Here's a guide to the contenders and pretenders in your office sweepstake:

You're in it to win it!

These teams have the star quality and pedigree to go all the way - Spain, France, Argentina, Brazil, Germany and Portugal.

Ain't nothing but a heartbreak

Capable of making a deep run, but doomed to fall desperately short - Belgium, Colombia, England.

Don't put the house on them

These are the battlers, capable of an upset or two, but they'll be found out eventually - Uruguay, Peru, Croatia, Mexico, Sweden, Poland, Japan, Costa Rica.

Dreams are free

Every tournament has a Cinderalla team and this time, it could come from this group - Egypt, Australia, Iceland, Nigeria, Switzerland, Serbia, Denmark, Panama, Senegal, South Korea.

A sweepstakers' guide to Football World Cup 2018

Hold all tickets

Some sweepstakes offer a prize for worst team, so don't despair if you draw one of these - Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iran, Morocco, Tunisia.