Our football match prediction:
Russia take on Saudi Arabia at Stadion Luzhniki in the opening match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The Russians have been struggling to find their best form in 2018, but Thursday’s football match against the Saudis could be the turning point for the tournament hosts. Stanislav Cherchesov’s men are likely to leave their hearts on the field, but this game will be anything but a walk in the park for them. Saudi Arabia have been struggling in warm-up games as well and it is no surprise they are considered underdogs in the World Cup opener against Russia. The lack of experience could prove to be a big problem for Saudi Arabia in the Stadion Luzhniki clash, which is the main reason why home win should be considered. A man to watch in Stanislav Cherchesov’s team will be CSKA attacker Alan Dzagoev.
Highlighted Player (Denis Cherychev):
Probably the most famous Russian footballer never to have played for a domestic club, Denis Cheryshev was born in Nizhny Novgorod, but began his career at Sporting Gijon as his father played for the Spanish side at the time. The talented winger eventually caught the eye of Real Madrid and went on to spend eight years in the youth academy at Santiago Bernabeu before he was given a chance to impress on senior level. Due to a fierce competition for places in Madrid, Cheryshev was forced to gain much needed first team experience via loan spells at Sevilla, Villarreal and Valencia, and he showed a great deal of potential during those stints, proving los Blancos were wrong to let him leave. Chersyhev has been in and out of the Russia national team since making his debut in 2012, but there is a good chance he will become an important member of Sbornaya Komanda as soon as he secures regular playing time at club level. The Russian footballer is capable of operating on either wing or through the middle, and he has proved to be quite prolific in terms of both goals and assists.
Highlighted Team (Saudi Arabia):
Saudi Arabia Football Federation was established back in 1956, but the Saudis qualified for a major tournament 28 years later, when they participated in the AFC Asian Cup. In 1988 Saudi Arabia won their first trophy, with the team beating South Korea in the Asian Cup final. Eight years later they repeated the success and it has to be noted that they have been playing at the Asian Cup finals ever since. Speaking of their appearances at the FIFA World Cup finals, the Green Falcons did well to qualify for the 1994 tournament, where they made it to the last 16. Saudi Arabia participated at the 1998, 2002 and 2006 tournament as well, but they missed out on a place at the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals. However, the Asian side booked their place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia thanks to a win over Japan in their last group game in the qualifiers. Saudi Arabia’s home kits are white, whilst they wear green jerseys and shirts when playing on the road.