WORLD CUP MATCH PREVIEW – Russia vs Saudi Arabia
Date: Thursday, 14th June 2018
Kick-Off : 16:00
Venue: Luzhniki Stadium (Moscow)
Hurray! The wait is finally over and we can finally look forward to the biggest football event in the globe kick starts on Thursday in Moscow as host nation Russia take on Saudi Arabia in the FIFA World Cup 2018 curtain raiser.
Russia will start their world cup campaign on a back of a 7 games win-less streaks with 3 draws and 4 losses, so it’s safe to say they’ve been a bit over-priced here at 1.45 odd against another lowly ranked team.
Even though Russia will have a massive crowd behind them they will still face a stiff competition from the Asian side who will also be cautious in their build up play. Russia have won just six of their matches since they were knocked out of Euro 2016, and they have only beaten one team who are present in this World Cup since November 2015. They’ve failed to beat the likes of Iran, Austria, and Turkey in their warm up friendly games.
Saudi Arabia are ranked the second worst nation at the tournament, but they actually performed quite well in their most recent warm up friendly, limiting a full strength Germany side to a 2-1 win. This was a much better showing than their 3-0 hammering against Peru at the start of June, and before that they only lost 2-1 to Italy as well. These defeats came after they saw a back victory against Greece and Algeria(2:0, 2:0). Almost half of Saudi 23 man squad play for Al-Hilal which should be some sort of advantage for the Asian side.
Russia Predicted Lineup: Akinfeev, Fernandes, Ignashevich, Granat, Kudryashov, Zobnin, Samedov, Dzagoev, Golovin, Zhirkov, Smolov.
Saudi Arabia Predicted Lineup: Al Maiouf, Al-Breik, Hawsawi, Hawsawi, Al-Harbi, Otayf, Al-Shehri, Al-Jasssim, AL-Faraj, Al-Dawsari, Al-Sahlawi.
The big and probably only advantage the Russians have over their Asian counterpart here is the massive crowd and it shouldn’t take a genius to know nothing big separate these two teams in term of qualities.
Also since both teams will be looking for the first goal in the first game and with both teams displaying some vulnerability at the back recently, think we could see at least one goal from both sides.
First Pick: Saudi Arabia +2 Handicap win @ 1.55
Second Pick: GG(Both teams to score) @ 2.65