Russia vs. Saudi Arabia
Luzhniki Stadium/ Moscow
11 A.M ET, June 14, 2018, Thursday.
Line: Russia -315 Saudi Arabia +900
Free FIFA World Cup Pick Russia Vs. Saudi Arabia
The biggest and the most prestigious event in Football – The FIFA World Cup is about to begin. After months of qualification, tireless efforts by International teams and some awful big names unbelievably missing out it has boiled down to 32 nations who will go to war on the field for the famed Jules Rimet Trophy. The 2018 FIFA World cup promises to be an intriguing affair. The world cup for some would end in an emotional collapse, for some it would be dawning of a new era, for some it would returning to past splendors but most importantly for all it would be “The Festival of Fun”. The global spotlight turns towards Russia as they would begin their World Cup campaign against Saudi Arabia and missing a game of such glitz would be a sacrilegious act.
Russia had the luxury to avoid a tedious qualification process as they qualified as hosts while their rivals were toiling to qualify. Absence of key personnel is a major setback for Russia as the current side is built from scratch as quoted by the coach Stanislav Cherchesov after a disastrous Euro 2016. Russia’s fortune with injuries has been abysmal with their star Alexander Kokorin ruled out. The retirements of experienced players like Berezutsky brothers has left Russia with bereft options. Russian squad is a mix of young talent and senior veterans and is expected to dominate the Arabs of Saudi. Their back three defense and marauding midfield will prove to be instrumental when they challenge Egypt and Uruguay for a berth in the knockout phase.
A dramatic win over Japan in the last qualification match empowered the Green Falcons to book a flight to Russia but Saudi’s road ahead isn’t going to be all roses. Going into a major tournament, a team needs momentum, stability and consistency. Saudi Arabia have none of these things. 3 managerial changes in 9 months have only contributed to more instability in the team. This team was solely built to qualify through a weak Asian circuit, but not to even tread water when it gets to Russia. It is essentially an all-star team with majority of players coming from last season’s top 2 clubs of Saudi Arabia. They have a very bumpy road ahead and their first bump is in form of the shrewd hosts Russia. Unlike other World cup minnows they will attack and be adventurous on the ball but in the process they are expected to leak a lot of goals. Saudi Arabia’s attack is the key, if at all, they are to go through to the knockout stages.
The Goal Poacher:
Russia- Fyodor Smolov. He is expected to take charge in the attack in absence of Kokorin. Coming into the tournament with 14 league goals, he will try to replicate that form for the national side.
Saudi Arabia- Mohammad Al-Sahlawi. A hard working, skilled forward who is extremely pivotal to Saudi’s technically gifted attack. With someone as prolific as Al-Sahlawi in the team one can say Saudi’s attack is rested on reliable shoulders.
Russia- Alan Dzagoev. A clever play maker with a talent of going forward, Dzagoev is the vital for supplying balls to Smolov and Miranchuk. He possesses some extra-ordinary midfield talent which would be handy for Russia.
Saudi Arabia- Taisir Al-Jassim. A central midfielder who will be pulling the strings of midfield, his vision and experience is fundamental for the team and is considered to be one of the best players of Saudi Arabia in last 10 years.
The Young gun:
Russia- Aleksander Golovin. The 22 year old is the youngest in the Russia’s world cup squad who has nailed his position in the starting 11, having become a key man at the heart of Russia’s midfield. He is likely to take the world cup stage by storm with his performances.
Saudi Arabia– Fahad Al-Muwallad. Standing 5feet 5inches, he’s a tricky winger, blessed with blistering pace and ridiculously quick feet, he has an eye for the goal and is integral to Saudi’s plans. He has the vision and range of supply passes to Al- Sahlawi and their partnership would certainly boost the attack.
The Driving Spirit:
Russia- As hosts their biggest driving spirit is their home support, their home crowd. The Russian fans will be desperate to see their side through to at least the knockout stages of the tournament and will not shy away from supporting their home nation.
Saudi Arabia- Their driving force will certainly be the aim to return to past glories which date back to 1994. Saudi Arabia are being seen as minnows despite holding such great ability. They are desperate to prove a point in Russia.
Free FIFA World Cup Pick Saudi Arabia Vs. Russia
The hosts Russia could be the victors in this game despite not having won a game since last October. Russia have a weak back line and could be raided by Saudi Arabia’s attack but Saudi Arabia have a more feeble defense. Saudi Arabia return to the World Cup after their last appearance in 2006. Being the hosts Russia have an advantage with 80,000 fans cheering for their home side. This might be considered as a match between two weak teams but missing the first match of the World Cup is a very sinful act.