Russia vs Saudi Arabia – Predictions, Odds & Betting Tips
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Final score: Russia 5-0 Saudi Arabia
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14 June 2018 – 6pm Local time (AEST 1am, 15 June 2018)
Luzhniki Stadium – Moscow – Russia
Host nation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Russia and minnows, Saudi Arabia face-off in World Cup Group A in the opening match.
The two times have only met once previously, back in 1993, when Saudi Arabia prevailed 4-2.
Both teams have been hot-and-cold in their warm-up matches. Consequently, it is difficult to assess the form of both teams. Russia will be buoyed by fanatical home support.
Russia should do enough to get by Saudi Arabia and Egypt to move on to the knockout stages. A slip-up against either would be dire. Russia’s gritty style can get them results, but it wins over few fans. A lot will depend on the fitness of star player, Denis Glushakov, who is a creative force who can turn any game.
With Group A’s weakness, the Saudis stand a chance of qualification to the knockout stage. Quality striker, Mohamed Al-Sahlawi has a turn of speed and quality finishing skills than can deceive the best defences.
Preview & Predictions
In front of a parochial home crowd in Moscow, it is not surprising that Russia are the strong favourites to win ($1.30) with Betstar.
Saudi Arabia are well-organised, with a great coach in Juan Antonio Pizzi and a defence that can tie up opposing strikers.
With home support and a better player quality, Russia should prove too strong in the World Cup Opener.
For punters looking for some betting value, look to the well marshalled Saudi defence to hold Russia scoreless (0-0 $8.50 ). The Saudi defence surprised fellow World Cup qualifiers Australia and Japan, who both rank higher than the Russians.
- Saudi Arabia’s Mohamed Al-Sahlawi scored an equal-high 16 goals in qualifying.
- Russia becomes the 17th nation a host a World Cup.
- Saudi Arabia’s best finish at a World Cup is better than Russia, having made it to the last 16 in 1994.
- Russia to win the WC – $41.00
- Saudi Arabia to progress from Group A – $26.00
Russia: Igor Akinfeev (captain), Mário Fernandes, Ilya Kutepov, Sergei Ignashevich, Andrei Semyonov, Denis Cheryshev, Daler Kuzyayev, Yury Gazinsky, Alan Dzagoev, Fyodor Smolov, Roman Zobnin, Andrey Lunyov, Fyodor Kudryashov, Vladimir Granat, Aleksei Miranchuk, Anton Miranchuk, Aleksandr Golovin, Yuri Zhirkov, Aleksandr Samedov, Vladimir Gabulov, Aleksandr Yerokhin, Artem Dzyuba, Igor Smolnikov.
Saudi Arabia: Abdullah Al-Mayouf, Mansoor Al-Harbi, Osama Hawsawi (captain), Ali Al-Bulaihi, Omar Hawsawi, Mohammed Al-Breik, Salman Al-Faraj, Yahya Al-Shehri, Hattan Bahebri, Mohammad Al-Sahlawi, Abdulmalek Al-Khaibri, Mohamed Kanno, Yasser Al-Shahrani, Abdullah Otayf, Abdullah Al-Khaibari, Housain Al-Mogahwi, Taisir Al-Jassim, Salem Al-Dawsari, Fahad Al-Muwallad, Muhannad Assiri, Yasser Al-Mosailem, Mohammed Al-Owais, Motaz Hawsawi.