FIFA Soccer World Cup 2018: The 2018 Football World Cup kicks off on Thursday as host Russia takes on Saudi Arabia. It’s the opener of the tournament, which means it’ll probably be the most watched game involving these two teams in Group A. The host nation and Saudi Arabia will battle for three vital points, with the group’s second match between Uruguay and Egypt arriving on Friday on a three-match day.
Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, played well in a 2-1 loss to Germany last week and is confident it can get something in this game, with a draw being a quality result. Nobody on the team will be more hungry to deliver than coach Juan Antonio Pizzi, who failed to guide Chile to qualification to the World Cup but still managed to make the tournament himself after landing the Saudi gig in November.
Russia are first-time hosts of the tournament and qualified automatically, and will be making their fourth appearance at the finals since 1990.
Asian qualifiers Saudi Arabia’s best result at a World Cup was finishing in the last 16 in 1994, and will be hoping for a better finish this tournament.
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Russia vs Saudi Arabia Predicted Lineup
Saudi Arabia XI: Al-Muaiouf, Al-Burayk, Al-Boleahi, Hawsawi, Al-Harbi, Al-Faraj, Ali-Khaibari, Kanno, Al-Jassim, Al-Shehri, Al-Sahlawi
Russia XI: Akinfeev; Zhirkov, Kutepov, Ignashevich, Fernandes; Golovin, Anton Miranchuk, Zobnin, Samedov; Dzagoev, Smolov