Russia have their home World Cup opener, against underdogs of the group, Saudi Arabia. Kickoff slate for 8:00 am pacific time on Thursday, June 14th, at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
Russia will most likely look to its 3-4-2-1 formation, with Fedor Smolov leading the front lines. Young stand out Aleksandr Golovin is looking to breakthrough in his debut World Cup, following his debut at Euro's in 2016. The 22 year old Midfielder from CSKA Moscow will be looking to put his best foot forward and start off to a flyer. Paired with Golovin, should be Russia's number 10, Alan Dzagoev. Both CSKA Moscow players, look to build off their chemistry together, and lead Russia to a win, or two.
Possible Line Up:
Akinfeev in goal.
Fernandes, Kudryashov, Ignashevich
Samedov, Kuzyaev, Gazinskiy, Cheryshev(unless Zhirkov is healthy)
Smolov up top.
Saudi Arabia is looking to break the hearts of Russia in the opening match, and keep its World Cup dreams going. Saudi Arabia could very well pull off a shock upset, after almost pulling off an upset against Germany in a friendly, on Friday. Saudi Arabia number 1-, Mohammed Al-Sahlawi scored 10 goals in his 19 matches for Al Nassr FC, and could be the exact key they need to make it to the Knockout rounds. Tough challenges ahead, but with the atmosphere of a World Cup opening match, Saudi Arabia could pull the upset. I could see Saudi Arabia playing how they played against Germany, with a 4-1-4-1 formation. Making sure all their players are behind the ball, and creating two lines of 4. With number 8, Abdullah Otayf, possibly being sweeping defensive midfielder, and finding time on the ball, he could create problems if Russia get caught out in possession.
Al-Suqour could come out flying high based off the positive performance against Germany, and secure its first Round of 16 appearance, since their debut at the 1994 World Cup.
Possible Line Up:
Al-Sahlawi up top
Al-Dawsari, Al-Faraj, Al-Jassim, Al-Shehri
Al Burayk, Hawsawi, Albulayhi, Shahrani
and Muaiouf in goal.
My prediction, I see Saudi Arabia scoring first to take an early lead. Opening goal from Al-Sahlawi, only seems to fit perfectly for my taste.
Russia bounces back on a goal by Smolov, which is most likely set up off a set piece by Dzagoev.
That ends the first half.
Second half is where i could see Russia taking more control. The nerves and excitement has settled in, and Russia decides to let Saudi Arabia have more of the ball, and hit them on the counter.
Smolov adds another off the counter, accepting a beautiful cross from the outside.
Final: Russia 2-1 Saudi Arabia.
What do you think will happen? Who do you think will win? Let us know!