The World Cup starts on Thursday — these photos from around the world show why soccer is the world’s most beloved game

Soccer is the world’s most popular and beloved sport, and it’s played in virtually every corner of the world. Ahead of the 2018 World Cup, Reuters sent photographers around the globe to document the variety of ways people manage to play soccer. Soccer lovers play in the dirt, sand, and even snow, and the narrowest of city streets won’t stop them from playing “the beautiful game.”

The 2018 World Cup kicks off on Thursday, and soccer fans around the world are eagerly counting down the hours.

Of course, soccer’s popularity extends far beyond the 32 countries that qualified for

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