The opening match of the FIFA World Cup 2018 is in Group A, between the hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia. The match is scheduled on 14 June 2018. The Luzhniki stadium is bubbling with excitement and waiting for a nail-biting gameplay between the 2 teams.
The group in which Russia is placed, they cannot afford to lose. Saudi Arabia might be the flicker of hope that they need to march further in the tournament. Moreover, it is because teams from Asia are considered as weakest.
Both the squads have a handful of star players on whom all eyes would be set. The mid fielder Alan Dzagoev from CSKA Moscow, the captain Igor Akinfeev and the forward player Artem Dzyuba from Arsenal Tula are the star attractions from the Russian team. What makes the Russian attack sturdy is the central mid fielder Dzagoev’s form. He has been unbeatable for some time now. The very talented goalkeeper captain, Akinfeev is the brightest of all and should be able to shoulder the responsibility. The Arsenal guy Dzyuba also looks promising.
From the Arabian squad, there is Al Hilal’s central defender Osama Hawsawi, who is also the captain. Apart from him, there is the winger and striker Nawaf Al Abed, again from Al Hilal. Al Nassr’s striker Mohammad Al Sahlawi has been the best player of the league for 2 consecutive times in a row, in 2013-2014 and 2014-2015. He struck 16 goals to qualify for the world cup.
Both the teams look great on paper, but the real test is how they perform on the field, right from the word go. The advantage that Russia has is that they are playing on their home ground and have all the support and cheers, and encouragement of their home spectators. This might drive their star players to the core, and they might exhibit excellent game play.
Saudi Arabia has been placed in a group, which could not have been better for them. Considering the fact that Russia is ranked at the 65th position, the Arabs can actually prove to be a thorn in the host’s side. The recent change of coaches did not help Arabia’s cause. The side is back at the world cup after a long wait since 2006. Unless Saudi Arabia ties the loose ends, their chances of winning this crucial match look bleak.