Google Doodle celebrates diverse cultures for World Cup kickoff

Monthlong series of doodles from artists in each participating country will illustrate what soccer looks like in that country.

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The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off Thursday in Russia, with a field of 32 teams from around the globe competing in a monthlong tournament that concludes July 15.

Usually referred to as just the World Cup, the tournament is the biggest sporting competition on the planet. During the next month, the men's national teams will compete in 12 venues in 11 cities around Russia. While 20 of the teams are making repeat appearances, including defending champs Germany, there are also some first-timers, including Iceland and Panama.

To mark the beginning of the tournament, Google on Thursday published the first in a series of doodles celebrating the talent and diverse cultures of each of the participating countries. A new doodle will appear every day of the tourney, drawn by artists from each country illustrating what soccer looks like in that country.

Thursday's doodle incorporates elements from each of the 32 artists, offering a sneak peek collage of the diverse artwork to come.

The tournament's first game, between host Russia and Saudi Arabia, begins at 6 a.m. PT at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. An opening ceremony before the match will feature Will Smith singing Live It Up, the official anthem of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Doodling our world: Check out Google's previous celebrations of people, events and holidays that impact our lives.

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