WORLD CUP CLASH PREVIEW: Russia vs Saudi Arabia

Russia vs Egypt

World Cup Hosts, Russia is taking on Saudi Arabia for the first game of the Cup at Luzhniki Stadium on the 14th of July 2018. 

Russia

Since 1994 Russia has only won 2 games in the World Cup. With the Cup being hosted in Russia they did not need to qualify. They have 10 appearances in the First Stage of the World Cup previously with one appearance in the Semi-Finals. As of right now the Russian football federation have no announcement on the player’s selection. But as far as sources have confirmed, the Russian team’s squad will be announced between the 10th and 15th of May. Russia beat Cameroon 6-1 in 1994 and Tunisia 2-0 in 2002 in the World Cup. Their current FIFA rank is 65, with Saudi Arabia closely ranked 63rd.

STANISLAV CHERCHESOV
In 2016 Cherchesov was appointed the responsibility of coaching Russia’s national football team. Previously he was the international goalkeeper for Russia as well as part of the Soviet Union. He is hoping to see a replay of Fedor Smolov’s goal against New Zealand from their opening match victory of the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017.
FEDOR SMOLOV
The striker scored five goals for the Russian national team in 2017 which is more than any other player. He has bagged over 60 goals in three seasons for Krasnodar. “I’m planning to peak at the World Cup.” he told FIFA.com “I’m ready to take on more responsibility myself during games. I’m one of those players who actively gets involved in play and cares about the result. I want our performance to be as good as possible at Russia 2018”. Fedor is by far the top scorer for Russia although it is Igor Akinfeev who is the real star for the team.
IGOR AKINFEEV
Igor is a six-time Russian title winner, with over 100 match appearances at international level for his country. He is also the captain of the national team and the influential figure they need to help them impress the world on their home turf.

Saudi Arabia

We’ve seen four appearances of Saudi Arabia in the previous World Cup games. They have only won two games in total in the World Cup, 2-1 against Morroco and 1-0 against Belgium both in 1994.

JUAN ANTONIO PIZZI
In November 2017, the responsibility of coaching Saudi Arabia was given to Argentinian Juan Pizzi after his time coaching Chile had ended. During his playing days, he was a forward for Spain at international level. He was a forward for Spain at an International level featuring at the EURO Cup in 1996 and the 1998 World Cup.
MOHAMMAD AL-SAHLAWI 
With 16 goals Al-Sahlawi was joint-top goalscorer award in Russia 2018. His quick feet and rare turn of pace make him Saudi’s main weapon at the World Cup.

Vital Moments In The Qualifiers
After Australia beat Thailand 2-1, Saudi Arabia had no choice but to win against Japan in the final game of Group B to secure their qualification for the World Cup. It was in the 62nd minute that Fahad Al Muwallad scored a fantastic strike.

 

 PREDICTED LINE-UP

Sports of the Days Verdict

We think Russia has a fighting chance of coming out victorious with the fact they are playing at home and their team has a stronger history of talent compared to Saudi Arabia.

Who do you think will win?

Google’s win probability is at 73% for Russia to win the game. The chances of Saudi Arabia winning is just 7%, with a 20% probability of it being a draw. For Russia coming out 1-0 the odds are 10/3, for them coming out 2-0 the odds are4/1 and for 2-1 the odds are 8/1. For Saudi Arabia to win 1-0 the odds are 20/1, to win 2-0 the odds are 50/1 and for 2-1 the odds are 40/1. If you’d like to see more odds for the game click  here