Russia – Saudi Arabia World Cup Prediction
Both teams want to win this match to start the competition in the best way.
State of form
Qualified directly as host country, Russia played a majority of friendly matches in the last 2 years. Present at the last Confederations Cup held at home in 2017, Stanislav Cherchesov’s men did not shine by getting out of the group stage (2-0 win against New Zealand and 0-1 defeat by Portugal and 1-2 against Mexico). Since then, the Russians have played 8 friendlies. After dominating South Korea (4-2), Igor Akinfeev’s teammates conceded the draw against Iran (1-1) and Spain (3-3) and were defeated by Argentina (1-0). In March, the “Sbornaya” was defeated by Brazil (0-3) and France (1-3). In preparation for the World Cup, the selection confirmed its great difficulties by losing to Austria (0-1), before drawing a draw against Turkey (1-1).
Present at the 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cups, Saudi Arabia is making a comeback after having missed the last two editions, in 2010 and 2014. In order to validate its ticket for Russia, the men of the Spanish coach Juan Antonio Pizzi finished second in group B in the Asian zone, behind Japan but ahead of Australia. Since February, the Saudis have played 9 friendlies (3 wins, 1 draw and 5 defeats). In the hard end of preparation, partners Yehya Al-Shehri remain on 3 losses conceded against Italy (1-2), Peru (0-3) and Germany last Friday (2-1).
The numbers for Russia – Saudi Arabia
The Russian workforce is composed of many experienced elements. We think of goalkeeper and captain Akinfeev (32), defenders Ignashevich (38) and Kombarov (31), midfielders Zhirkov (34), Glushakov (31) and Samedov (34) and attackers Smolov (28) and Dzyuba (29). Only 3 players do not evolve in the national championship, Gabulov (Club Brugge), Neustädter (Fenerbahce) and Cheryshev (Villarreal).
Opposite, Saudi Arabia arrives with a group of unknown players, which evolves for almost all in the national championship. Indeed, only 3 players who were loaned in Liga last January as part of an agreement between the Leagues play outside the country: Al-Dossari (Villarreal), Al-Shehri (Leganes) and Al-Muwallad (Levante ). Juan Antonio Pizzi will also be able to rely on his goleador Al-Sahlawi (Al-Nassr, 28 goals in 38 selections).
Probable compositions for Russia – Saudi Arabia:
Russia: Akinfeev – Ignashevich, Smolinkov, Kutepov – Samedov, Zobnin, Gazinsky, Zhirkov – Dzagoev, Golovin, Smolov.
Saudi Arabia: Al Mosailem – Al Harbi, Om. Hawsawi, Os. Hawsawi, Al Shahrani – Otayf – Al Faraj, Al Shehri, Al Jassim, Al – Muwallad – Al – Sahlawi.
Prediction Russia – Saudi Arabia
Supported by a stadium, Russia should win this first match against a Saudi team that seems to box in a lower category. Victory of Russia
Prediction Today: Victory Russia