4 years of long and hard wait has led to the events that will unfold tonight at the kickoff of the first match of FIFA 2018 World Cup between the host Russia and Saudi Arabia in Group A. Billions of Football lovers around the world have waited four years to see this happen as Russia hosts the FIFA World Cup for the year 2018. Last time on the fated day of 13 July 2014 at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil we saw how Mario Gotze’s extra time goal against Argentina made history as he led his team to victory in the 1-0 score and Germany became the champions of FIFA 2014.
The story will continue today as the host Russia will seek to defeat their middle eastern opponents Saudi Arabia and since it is the first match of the season it will probably be one of the most watched match before the Finals. As Russia is the host and as they will be playing in front of the home crowd so winning their first match will be crucial if they wish to have the support of home crowd with them. Comparing their records Russia have failed to win in seven non-competitive attempts since beating Korea Republic in October and the Saudis have lost three friendly matches in a row to strong opposition against Italy, Peru and the Champions Germany. Players of both the countries will be aiming for the win at the Luzhniki (National stadium of Russia in Moscow) to end their barren run at the global finals. Russia was the FIFA champions of 2002 and Saudi was the champion of 1994, and since then these countries have not won at the FIFA World Cup.
Капитан команды Игорь Акинфеев ? pic.twitter.com/EvtAL6RXyS
— Сборная России (@TeamRussia) June 13, 2018
Due to the Russia’s current form and their losses in the friendly matches they faced the criticism of their fans and as hosts they are hoping to get off on upper footing and get a lead early in the game and Group A. The Russian national team spent a quiet working week at their base in Novogorsk, far away from the hub of World Cup activity in Moscow. And before the opening match they seem recharged and ready to take on the middle eastern team. Similarly the Saudi team are striving to show a good result and a positive image of the nation’s footballing development to the world and also because it will be their first world cup appearance since 12 years. They will be cautious from the starting whistle as no world cup host team has lost in the opening match of the FIFA world cup. So Russia will be aiming to continue with the unbroken tradition for the 21st FIFA World Cup as well.
— Saudi National Team (@SaudiNT_EN) June 13, 2018
The match will begin from 08:30PM and as is the tradition of FIFA, an elaborate opening ceremony is set to take place 30 minutes before the kick-off of the first game, the ceremony will have British musician Robbie Williams adding to the hype and with lots of spectacular fireworks display the opening ceremony will be grand.
All-in-all with the world on their toes it will be one interesting game to watch.
Russia’s Line-up: Igor Akinfeev; Mario Fernandes, Fedor Kudryashov, Sergey Ignashevich, Yuri Zhirkov; Roman Zobnin, Daler Kuzyaev, Alan Dzagoev, Aleksandr Samedov, Aleksandr Golovin; Fedor Smolov
Saudi Arabia’s Line-up: Abdullah Al-Mayouf; Usamah Husawi, Omar Hosawi, Yasser Al-Shahrani, Mohammed Al-Barik; Abdullah Otif, Salman Al-Faraj, Yahya Al-Shihri, Taisir Al-Jassim, Salem Al Dosari; Fahad Al-Molad