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Russia v Saudi Arabia World Cup Match Preview and Predictions - Hosts to open tournament with a win

Gary Emmerson 11 Jun 2018
  • Russia and Saudi Arabia kick off the 2018 World Cup
  • Russia are on a seven-game winless streak
  • Saudi Arabia are long outsiders in Group A

Hosts Russia kick off the 2018 World Cup when they take on Group A rivals Saudi Arabia in the opening game of the finals at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Thursday (Friday AEST).

Russia v Saudi Arabia kicks off at 01.00am AEST on Friday. The game will be broadcast on SBS and Optus Sport in Australia.

Prediction


Match Preview


Russia have been given a relatively favourable draw in Group A and will expect to make a winning start to the 2018 World Cup finals when they come up against Saudi Arabia in the opening game.

A partisan crowd will be present inside the Luzhniki Stadium in the capital and Stanislav Cherchesov's Russia side should not disappoint in what is expected to be a one-sided affair to start the finals.

Asian Group B runners-up Saudi Arabia are not given much hope of qualifying this time and predicted to be the whipping boys in Group A and facing the hosts first up is not the ideal opener for Juan Antonio Pizzi's side.

Saudi Arabia have been beyond the group stages having reached the Round of 16 in 1994, but that will be tough to match despite showing signs they may be tough to beat in 2-1 friendly defeats to Italy and Germany.

Sandwiched in between those was another friendly loss as they went down 3-0 to Peru, although the Saudis did win the first two of their five build-up matches when recording 2-0 wins over Algeria and Greece.

Having not needed to qualify, Russia have spent the last year-and-a-half playing friendlies and hosting the Confederations Cup but their form doesn't make pleasant reading. 

It is just three wins from the last 15 internationals for Russia, who have lost to Brazil, France and Austria in friendlies this year before drawing with Turkey in their final warm-up outing. 

It is now seven games without a win for Russia, but the return to tournament football in front of a massive crowd should see them returning to winning ways and get things off to the perfect start. 

Match Odds


Russia - $1.44
Saudi Arabia - $9.00
Draw - $4.00

*Correct at the time of writing

Stats


  • Russia have failed to win any of their last seven games
  • It is now just three wins in the last 15 games for the World Cup hosts
  • Saudi Arabia lost their last three friendlies before the World Cup

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Russia v Saudi Arabia World Cup Match Preview and Predictions - Hosts to open tournament with a win

Russia kick off the 2018 World Cup when they take on Group A rivals Saudi Arabia in the opening game of the finals at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

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