First Match of FIFA World Cup 2018 (Russia vs Saudi Arabia)

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2018 FIFA World Cup is the 21st FIFA World Cup, a quadrennial worldwide football tournament between the men's national teams of the full member associations of FIFA. 2018 FIFA World Cup is scheduled in Russia from 14 June to 15 July 2018, after the nation was granted the hosting rights on 2 December 2010.

It is the first World Cup that will be held in Europe since 2006, after Germany, and the first ever to take place in Eastern Europe. The greater parts of the stadium venues are in European Russia to reduce and accommodate travel time without it getting hectic. It is going to be the most extravagant and most expensive football championship ever, planned at US$11.8-14 billion crossing 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

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The final competition will include 32 national squads, which incorporates 31 teams decided through qualifying round and the naturally qualified host team. Out of the 32 teams, 20 will show up following the last competition in 2014, including defending champions Germany, while Iceland and Panama will both make their debut in FIFA World Cup. There will be 64 matches in total which will be played in 12 venues situated in 11 different cities. Fifa 2018 final will take place on 15th July at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

1st Match: Russia Vs Saudi Arabia

The big day is here!!!! The host Russia is up against Saudi Arabia to kick off the biggest tournament in the world. The exciting time has finally come after almost four years of waiting.

Russia and Saudi Arabia take each other on the field to start another chapter in the story of the FIFA World Cup. Both sides come into their fixture with a recent poor run in the recent form. Both the teams will be hoping to open their account on a winning note at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow.

KNOW YOUR TEAMS: Russia

Skipper: Igor Akinfeev

Nickname: Sbornaya

Team manager: Stanislav Cherchesov

FIFA Rank (last updated on April 12, 2018): 70

Venue: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow

How they Qualified

Winning the privilege to host the World Cup is more or less the only way for this group to qualify. Russia, being the poorest team in the historical backdrop of Russian football, has got a great opportunity in the form of this competition. The 2017 Confederations Cup at home, hence, went about as the genuine main test for Russia, where they lost at the group stage after winning from New Zealand but losing to Portugal and Mexico.

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Altogether, Russia has played 19 matches since Euro 2016 and won only six games, i.e., against Ghana, Romania, Hungary, New Zealand, Dinamo Moscow and the Korea Republic. They haven't won a single match since October 2017 and yielded 10 goals in four International friendlies against Argentina, Spain, Brazil and France.

Strengths

Is there any? That is a tough call to make. Captain Igor Akinfeev can still surprise between the poles, despite the fact that he's inclined to unthinkable botches from time to time. A trio of Alan Dzagoev, Aleksandr Golovin and Fedor Smolov could deliver something unbelievable while attacking. Also, Cherchesov has been trying harder on his team, squeezing with quick changes between attack and defense. It infrequently works, but when it does, it could be called as their biggest strength.

Weaknesses

The defense has obviously been the weak link of the Russian national team for a long time. At the point when the CSKA trio of Sergey Ignashevich and the Berezutski siblings (who are as yet considered the best in spite of being 38 and 35 years of age, respectively) chose to quit international football, things only went worse for them. After he got appointed, Cherchesov began playing five at the back, however since the beginning of 2018 he has lost two of the regular three centre-backs (Viktor Vasin and Georgi Dzhikiya) to long-haul injuries. The mentor had to start searching the combinations and partnerships all over again. Russia has given an enormous amount of goal scoring opportunities for opponents in the current year's two friendlies which is a testimony to the fact that it hasn't been a simple task for them.

Star Player:

Fedor Smolov is most likely the greatest Russian star right now. The 28-year-old striker required significant time to change from a talent to turn into the country’s central striker. Abandoning the rich life and saying goodbye to an ex- model (Viktoriya Lopyreva, who's currently one of the official World Cup ambassadors) linked with his escalation, he turned into the best Russian Premier League scorer in two progressive seasons (20 goals in 2015-16, 18 goals in 2016-17) with FC Krasnodar, and he's right now keeping pace with Spartak Quincy Promes (14 goals scored each) in the chase for a third straight golden boot for Russia.

The talented and skillful striker, who is brilliant in passing and finishing, has a fantasy to play for one of Europe's big clubs and may use this platform of the World Cup to his advantage.

What the Media says:

"Something should be done about the way Russia defend, yet almost the greater part of the defenders Cherchesov has tried after Vasin and Dzhikiya's injuries have neglected to prove their level. What we have witnessed in the March friendlies show that there's no promising finish to the present course of action." - Igor Rabiner, Sport Express.

Predictions:

Russia has always been very fortunate with the draw. So even seemingly the poorest group in the country’s history could still manage to get through the knockout stages, which also will be a first for Russia. Even if hosts beat Saudi Arabia in their tournament opener, much will rely upon the following match against Egypt (and Mo Salah's form, clearly) and the inspiration (or absence of it, if they've effectively qualified at that point) that Uruguay will have in the last group match.

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If Russia somehow manages to be in last 16, playing Spain, Portugal or even Iran would likely be their last round of the competition.

Saudi Arabia

Skipper: Osama Hawsawi

Nickname: The Green Falcons

Team Manager: Juan Antonio Pizzi

FIFA Team Rank (last updated on April 12, 2018): 67

How they qualified

Saudi Arabia secured their place at Fifa World Cup 2018, completely out of the blue after 2006 with a second-place finish in their AFC qualifying group behind Japan. A 1-0 victory against already qualified Japanese in their last group match, courtesy Fahad Al Muwallad's second-half goal, saw Saudi Arabia replace Australia on the basis of the number of goals secured.

Strengths

Although Saudi Arabia has changed their 3rd coach in less than one year, the team is based on a strong center of players. Saudi Premier League champions Al Hilal and runner-up Al Ahli are their key players & they know each other very well, and the cohesion between the players will not get disrupted despite the choice to send a group that includes Salem Al Dawsari, Yahya Al Shehri, and Fahad Al Muwallad, to clubs in Spain in January. The move hasn't work in their favor, however, the spirit in the team should see the players conquer some of these issues.

Weaknesses:

A lack of experience at the bigger world stage is one of the problems Saudi Arabia will face as they set out on their first outing to the World Cup finals after 12 years. None of the most expected contenders for Juan Antonio Pizzi side have played in a World Cup, and the nation has a poor record in continental tournament play in the recent times. They failed to progress much at Asian Cup in 2011 and 2015. Different issues incorporate Pizzi's lack of planning time with the squad; the Argentina-based mentor was named just in November, leaving both strategist and players somewhat more than a half year to prepare to play against Russia.

Star player

Yahya Al Shehri has set up himself as the star player for a Saudi Arabia side. He has a reasonably settled feel and he has played at a certain level in the past. Al Shehri is frequently given a permit to roam from his actual position behind striker Mohammed Al Sahlawi, and it can cause deep as he slips into positions where he can turn and face the opposition. The 27-year-old has spent quite a bit of his time with Riyadh-based Al Nassr, despite the fact that he was sent on loan to Leganes in Spain in January, where he did not get enough opportunity to play in La Liga which could have a huge adverse effect on his current performance in the World Cup.

What the media says:

"All in all, I'm not hopeful about Saudi [Arabia]. I trust they were blessed not to get a stronger group. However, the absence of an unmistakable vision since qualifying will hurt them in Russia. The Spain encounter has been an utter disappointment, and Pizzi has been simply playing a catch-up game to get them once again into the level they were at that point at under [former mentor Bert] Van Marwijk." - Wael Jabir, overseeing editorial manager Ahdaaf.me

Predictions:

It has been quite a while since Saudi Arabia influenced fans to sit up and pay heed at a World Cup, and it is impossible Pizzi's squad will earn numerous applauses when they take Russia in the field. Saudi Arabia's lack of experience and quality in a world-level tournament cannot see them go past the group games. However, they at least got the privilege to become the first ever Asian country to play in the opening game when they go up against Russia in Moscow on June 14, and their meeting with the hosts is supposedly their best hope to take something from the opposition.

Astrologer’s Prediction On Winner of this FIFA world 2018 Match: RUSSIA

FIFA World Cup 2018 Schedule

DATE

COUNTRY

LOCATION

Thursday, June 14

Russia vs Saudi Arabia

Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow

Friday, June 15

Egypt vs Uruguay

Ekaterinburg

Friday, June 15

Morocco vs Iran

St Petersburg

Friday, June 15

Portugal vs Spain

Sochi

Saturday, June 16

France vs Australia

Kazan

Saturday, June 16

Argentina vs Iceland

Spartak Stadium, Moscow

Saturday, June 16

Peru vs Denmark

Saransk

Saturday, June 16

Croatia vs Nigeria

Kaliningrad

Sunday, June 17

Costa Rica vs Serbia

Samara

Sunday, June 17

Germany vs Mexico

Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow

Sunday, June 17

Brazil vs Switzerland

Rostov-on-Don

Monday, June 18

Sweden v Korea Republic

Nizhny Novgorod

Monday, June 18

Belgium vs Panama

Sochi

Monday, June 18

Tunisia vs England

Volgograd

Tuesday, June 19

Poland vs Senegal

Spartak Stadium, Moscow

Tuesday, June 19

Colombia vs Japan

Saransk

Tuesday, June 19

Russia vs Egypt

St Petersburg

Wednesday, June 20

Portugal vs Morocco

Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow

Wednesday, June 20

Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia

Rostov-on-Don

Wednesday, June 20

Iran vs Spain

Kazan

Thursday, June 21

France vs Peru

Ekaterinburg

Thursday, June 21

Denmark vs Australia

Samara

Thursday, June 21

Argentina vs Croatia

Nizhny Novgorod

Friday, June 22

Brazil vs Costa Rica

St Petersburg

Friday, June 22

Nigeria vs Iceland

Volgograd

Friday, June 22

Serbia vs Switzerland

Kaliningrad

Saturday, June 23

Belgium vs Tunisia

Spartak Stadium, Moscow

Saturday, June 23

Germany vs Sweden

Sochi

Saturday, June 23

Korea Republic vs Mexico

Rostov-on-Don

Sunday, June 24

England vs Panama

Nizhny Novgorod

Sunday, June 24

Japan vs Senegal

Ekaterinburg

Sunday, June 24

Poland vs Colombia

Kazan

Monday, June 25

Uruguay vs Russia

Samara

Monday, June 25

Saudi Arabia vs Egypt

Volgograd

Monday, June 25

Spain vs Morocco

Kaliningrad

Monday, June 25

Iran vs Portugal

Saransk

Tuesday, June 26

Denmark vs France

Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow

Tuesday, June 26

Australia vs Peru

Sochi

Tuesday, June 26

Nigeria vs Argentina

St Petersburg

Tuesday, June 26

Iceland vs Croatia

Rostov-on-Don

Wednesday, June 27

Korea Republic vs Germany

Kazan

Wednesday, June 27

Mexico vs Sweden

Ekaterinburg

Wednesday, June 27

Serbia vs Brazil

Spartak Stadium, Moscow

Wednesday, June 27

Switzerland vs Costa Rica

Nizhny Novgorod

Thursday, June 28

Japan vs Poland

Volgograd

Thursday, June 28

Senegal vs Colombia

Samara

Thursday, June 28

England vs Belgium

Kaliningrad

Thursday, June 28

Panama vs Tunisia

Saransk

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