2018 FIFA World Cup | Russia vs Saudi Arabia | Preview

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2018 FIFA World Cup: World Cup 2018, Russia vs Saudi Arabia – Preview And Details 

2018 FIFA World Cup: World Cup 2018, Russia vs Saudi Arabia – Preview And Details

The 21st edition of the FIFA World Cup will kick start on Thursday. Hosts Russia will take on Saudi Arabia will start the proceedings with their Group A match at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.  Both the teams will be keen to start their campaign with a win as a single loss can pretty much end seal their fate at the group stage.

Going by the current form, neither of the two teams have looked impressive in their recent outings. Saudi Arabia prepared for the showpiece event in an international friendly with Italy. However, they failed to cap off their preparation with a win as Italy beat them 2-1.

On the other hand, Russia have also not managed to hit the right notes before the competition.

Preparations for Russia have been far from ideal since qualifying for a fifth World Cup, with two coaches fired. Edgardo Bauza was dismissed nine days before the draw after only five friendlies in charge. The hosts enter the competition as the lowest ranked team. After bypassing the qualification process as tournament hosts,  they have endured a torrid run of results that has seen them falling down to number 66 in the Fifa rankings. Their last victory came against South Korea in October 2017 and since then they have gone five games without victory.

Russian team practising ahead of the tournament

With just a couple of days left before the start of the tournament, the mercury is rising in the footballing world. So will Russia christen the World Cup with a victory before its home crowd, or will Saudi Arabia spoil the party? Well, only time will tell that.

For the time being, Sportzwiki are providing to you all the details of the game so that you do not miss the much-awaited game:

Venue and time:

The match will be played in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium. The action will start at 8:30 PM IST. Prior to the game, the opening ceremony will begin just 30 minutes before the start of the game.

Players to look out for:

For Russia, Aleksei Miranchuk can be the X-factor.  He can play on the right wing or up front. Miranchuk scored seven goals to help Lokomotiv Moscow win the Russian Premier League for the first time since 2004.

Miranchuk

For Saudi Arabia, striker Mohammed Al-Sahlawi can make a big mark. He is a prolific scorer and is a hard worker in front of the goal. Fahad Al-Muwallad is also an exciting prospect. The young winger had such a promising start to his career that European clubs were interested in him. Earlier this year, he joined Spanish outfit Levante on loan.  Not the tallest of strikers but Fahad’s speed makes him dangerous in the third half.

Where to watch:

The Indians fans will enjoy an extensive coverage of the tournament. Sony Pictures Network have bagged the broadcasting rights for the competition.  The English coverage will be shown on SONY TEN 2 SD and HD channels. The Hindi feed will be aired on  SONY TEN 3 SD and HD channels.  Bengali and Malayali feed will be available on SONY ESPN SD channel.

Squads:

Russia:

Goalkeepers:

Igor Akinfeev (CSKA Moscow), Vladimir Gabulov (Brugge), Andrei Lunyov (Zenit St. Petersburg).

Defenders:

Mario Fernandes (CSKA Moscow), Vladimir Granat (Rubin Kazan), Sergei Ignashevich (CSKA Moscow), Fyodor Kudryashov (Rubin Kazan), Ilya Kutepov (Spartak Moscow), Andrei Semyonov (Akhmat Grozny), Igor Smolnikov (Zenit St. Petersburg).

Midfielders:

Denis Cheryshev (Villarreal), Alan Dzagoev (CSKA Moscow), Yuri Gazinsky (FC Krasnodar), Alexander Golovin (CSKA Moscow), Daler Kuzyaev (Zenit St Petersburg), Anton Miranchuk (Lokomotiv Moscow), Alexander Samedov (Spartak Moscow), Alexander Yerokhin (Zenit St Petersburg), Yuri Zhirkov (Zenit St Petersburg), Roman Zobnin (Spartak Moscow).

Forwards:

Artyom Dzyuba (Arsenal Tula), Alexei Miranchuk (Lokomotiv Moscow), Fyodor Smolov (FC Krasnodar).

Saudi Arabia:

Goalkeepers:

Mohammed Al Owais (Al Ahli), Yasser Al Mosailem (Al Ahli), Abdullah Al Mayouf (Al Hilal).

Defenders:

Mansoor Al Harbi (Al Ahli), Yasser Al Shahrani (Al Hilal) Mohammed Al Breik (Al Hilal), Motaz Hawsawi (Al Ahli), Osama Hawsawi (Al Hilal), Omar Hawsawi (Al Nassr), Ali Al Bulaihi (Al Hilal).

Midfielders:

Abdullah Al Khaibari (Al Shabab), Abdulmalek Al Khaibri (Al Hilal), Abdullah Otayf (Al Hilal), Taiseer Al Jassim (Al Ahli), Houssain Al Mogahwi (Al Ahli), Salman Al Faraj, Mohamed Kanno (both Al Hilal), Hattan Bahebri (Al Shabab), Salem Al Dawsari (Al Hilal), Yahya Al Shehri (Al Nassr), Fahad Al Muwallad (Al Ittihad)

Forwards:

Mohammad Al Sahlawi (Al Nassr), Muhannad Assiri (Al Ahli)

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