RUSSIA VS SAUDI ARABIA
Russia – The hosts come into the World Cup as the lowest ranked of all 32 teams. They have not won in 7 games and only have 1 win in 10, albeit in friendlies. They will need home advantage to get them through.
Saudi Arabia – Having lost their last 3 warm up games, confidence may be a bit low. However, in games against Italy and Germany, Saudi Arabia were only beaten narrowly, going down 2-1 on both occasions.
LIKELY LINE UPS
Russia – (3-4-2-1): Akinfeev; Granat, Kutepov, Ignashevic; Samedov, Golovin, Zobnin, Zhirkov; Miranchuk, Dzagoev; Smolov
Saudi Arabia – (4-2-3-1): Al-Mayouf; Al-Shahrani, Omar Hawsawi, Osama Hawsawi, Al-Harbi; Otayf, Al-Jassim; Al-Muwallad, Al-Shehri, Al-Faraj; Al-Sahlawi
Russia 2-1 Saudi Arabia
Despite being possibly the worst host nation in history, home advantage should spur Russia on the victory. If they can’t win this game then they won’t be winning anything this World Cup.
Russia to win 2-1 – 9/1
Fedor Smolov first goalscorer – 3/1
Smolov to score, Russia to win, BTTS and 11+ match corners – 12/1
– Robert Shiers