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Newspapers in education: 2018 World Cup, Week 1

This article has been specially written for thousands of pupils across Northern Ireland who are doing the Belfast Telegraph cross-curricular project on the 2018 World Cup. Over the next six weeks we will focus on star players from countries involved in the tournament, the places where games will take place in Russia and cultural icons of the host nation.

World Cup cities

Moscow is the capital city of Russia, which is the largest country in the world.

The city of Moscow was founded in the 12th century and is now home to over 12 million residents.

It has three international airports and a number of famous landmarks including Red Square, the Bolshoi Theatre, the Kremlin and St Basil's Cathedral.

Moscow is the political, economic and cultural centre of Russia. It welcomes around four million tourists every year and has a host of museums which have child-friendly areas.

Other places which kids can enjoy include Moscow Planetarium and Moscow Zoo.

For the 2018 World Cup in Russia, two stadiums located in Moscow will be used. The Luzhniki Stadium will stage the final and the opening matches of the tournament, with the Spartak Stadium staging a host of games early on.

Venue: Luzhniki Stadium

City: Moscow

Capacity: 80,000

Venue: Spartak Stadium

City: Moscow

Capacity: 45,000

Pupil profile

Name: Matthew Whiteside

Class: Year 7

School: Ben Madigan Prep

Which sporting activities do you take part in?

I like to participate in football, swimming and water polo. I play for Crusaders and do water polo with Donegal Diamonds.

Who is your favourite sports person and why?

My favourite sports person is Mohamed Salah, who plays for Liverpool. I like him mainly because of his pace and his goal-scoring ability.

Which sporting team do you support and why?

Crusaders is my favourite team. My family have been heavily involved with them for years and my dad is their treasurer.

Which country do you think will win the FIFA World Cup?

I think Germany have a strong chance of winning the World Cup this year.

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi is considered the greatest footballer of all time by many fans of the sport.

The awesome Argentina star has only ever played for one club - Barcelona. He made his debut for the first team when he was 17 and has been showing his class ever since.

Known for his amazing dribbling skills, Messi has scored over 600 goals for club and country. The maestro is the record goalscorer for both Barcelona and Argentina.

He has lifted nine league titles with Barcelona in Spain, been a Champions League winner four times and won countless other trophies.

Messi has also claimed numerous individual prizes, including the Ballon d'Or on five occasions. It is an award given to the player regarded as the best in the world for that year.

On the international stage Messi has an Olympic gold medal, having played a key role in Argentina's success at the 2008 Games in Beijing.

One trophy Messi has not won yet, however, is the World Cup.

He inspired Argentina to the final in 2014 where they lost 1-0 to Germany.

Set to turn 31 during the tournament in Russia, Messi will hope to reach the final again this year and win it this time.

He retired from playing for Argentina in 2016 but quickly decided to return, believing that his World Cup dream could still come true.

Date of Birth: June 24, 1987 (age 30)

Height: 1.70 metres (5 ft 7 inches)

Country: Argentina

Eden Hazard

Eden Hazard is a footballer from Belgium who enjoyed one of the finest moments in his career when scoring the winning goal for Chelsea against Manchester United in the 2018 FA Cup final.

Hazard's penalty at Wembley was typical of the player - cool, calm and clinical.

The attacking midfielder was destined to be a footballer as both his mum and dad played the game in Belgium.

He started out by playing for local clubs Royal Stade Brainois and Tubize before moving to French side Lille in 2005.

Hazard proved to be a big success for Lille, helping them win the league and cup double in France in 2011.

One year later he joined Chelsea and has proved to be a star player for the Stamford Bridge team, winning two Premier League titles, one FA Cup, one League Cup and one Europa League trophy.

Hazard made his international debut for Belgium as a 17-year-old in 2008 and has become one of his country's most important players.

If Belgium are to have any success in the World Cup, it is likely Hazard will be at the heart of it.

Date of Birth: January 7, 1991 (age 27)

Height: 1.73 metres (5 ft 8 inches)

Country: Belgium

Cultural icons: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is one of the most influential musical composers in history.

Born in Russia in 1840 Pyotr - Peter in English - studied law at college but his passion was always music, taking piano lessons when he was five.

He performed as a conductor across Europe and in America and wrote many famous pieces of classical music which are still loved today

Tchaikovsky was renowned for his ballets, which included Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and the Nutcracker.

Over the years some movies have used his music, such as Disney's Maleficent.

Tchaikovsky died in St Petersburg in 1893, aged 53.

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