Guardian launches World Cup season with host of new features

For this year’s World Cup season, The Guardian and The Observer will be offering football fans a number of interactive ways to engage with the tournament.

Guardian launches World Cup season with host of new features

Highlights of the Guardian and Observer’s World Cup coverage include:

* Football legends Marcel Desailly, Thomas Hitzlsperger and Marta as exclusive guest writers for both The Guardian and The Observer.

* Europe’s leading football podcast, Football Weekly hosted by Max Rushden - will go daily from the 14 June to 15 July with the name the World Cup Daily

* 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. 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.

* In print, on 9 June, The Guardian included an A5 World Cup guide, with squad-by-squad insights for all teams. This was followed by the return of the special World Cup wallchart in The Observer on the 10 June.

* Game by game analysis from The Guardian’s sports team including Martha Kelner and Amy Lawrence as well as commentary - and humour - from Marina Hyde and cartoonist David Squires.

Will Woodward, head of sport, Guardian News & Media, said: “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.”

Max Rushden, host of The Guardian Football Weekly and World Cup Daily podcasts, 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."