The host nation must get off to a positive start
Kick Off – 16:00 BST
The World Cup will get underway when the host nation take on Saudi Arabia in Group A. Russia are ranked by FIFA at 70 and most bookies have priced them at 40/1 to win the competition. Russia will not win the competition but they must strive to go as far as they can. The mood of a competition often reflects the success of the hosts. Stanislav Cherchesov must ensure that his side gets off to a good start. Sbornaya have not won any of their last five games, drawing two and losing three. Igor Akinfeev and Sergei Ignashevich are familiar names to many. Ignashevich has come out of retirement to fill the void left by the injured duo of Viktor Vasin and Georgi Dzhikiya. La Liga fans will also be familiar with Villarreal’s Dennis Cheryshev.
Suadi Arabia are ranked 67th by FIFA. The Suadi’s are regarded as a team that ‘make up the numbers’. Germany hammered them 8-0 at the 2002 World Cup, head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi will not be wanting a repeat of that scoreline this year. Saudi Arabia avoided another thrashing when they were narrowly beaten 2-1 by Germany in a recent friendly. Osama Hawsawi is the skipper and veteran of the side with over 130 caps. There isn’t a great deal of quality in the Suadi side, expect them to ‘park-the-bus’.
We are ready, we are not afriad, Juan Antonio Pizzi
Russia 2/5 – Several bookies
Suadi Arabia 9/1 – Several bookies
Draw 3/1 – Several bookies
The lowest ranked teams in the tournament go head-to-head in a game that might be the only opportunity for either side to pick up three points. Can the Russian team give the nation a lift? Will the Saudi’s emulate Cameroon at Italia 90 and cause an upset? there have been under 2.5 goals scored in Russia’s last four games in the World Cup. It all gets underway today.
Russia 2-0 Saudi Arabia