Internationals

Match forecast: Russia v Saudi Arabia – World Cup opener

Here we are! The Word Cup 2018 is finally upon us! The greatest show on earth!

The hosts kick-off against Saudi Arabia, and they’ll be raring to make a great start on home soil!

One thing I love about the World Cup is that there are no second chances, and teams must perform on the day!

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Setting the scene

The World Cup opening ceremony. An event for the puritan, or if you’re one of those “just get over and done with already” types, you’ll tune in when the opening match kicks off. If you’re working on that day, you could catch a glimpse online, though its best to watch it live to catch the maximum experience.

Wherever you’ll be watching, whether that may be at home, school, or work, I’m sure it’ll be an event you won’t want to miss!

Preview

This’ll be the second ever meeting between the sides, with Saudi Arabia winning the last encounter 4-2 way back in October 1993.

The only handicap Russia have is the fact they haven’t play a competitive game since Euro 2016, but whether that’ll have an effect, we don’t know.

The hosts will call on key figure Igor Akinfeev if they’re to start strong (by that, I mean not concede goals). Saudi Arabia will have Mohammed Al-Sahlawi at their disposal, having scored 16 goals in qualifying. Keep an eye out for him!

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Form

Russia have drawn two of their last six matches, winning none, whilst Saudi Arabia have won two of their last six, and losing four. That gives the Asian side a psychological edge, but come matchday, results fly out of the window!

Team news

Both sides have no injury worries, with either side having a full-strength starters to choose from. A win for either side will set an early statement of intent!

Managers words

Stanislav Cherchesov spoke following the draw against Turkey: “We never point fingers. [I need] to look back at the game, and learn from it. I need to look back at that moment. I can say something right now, but talk is cheap. I need to rewatch the game, and make appropriate changes”.

Juan Antonio Pizzi spoke on his tactical approach: “I like to press high up the park, and put opponents under pressure. Take the ball to the offensive line and into a situation where we can score”.

“Sometimes that happens and other times it is not very effective, but that’s the general objective. For me, its not always to put more players into the attack, but this is one idea”.

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Prediction

Russia would want to kick-start their campaign on home soil with a win, so I’d be favouring them to get the tournament up and running, but that doesn’t mean I’m totally ruling out Saudi Arabia to cause an upset.

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