Russia vs Saudi Arabia

World Cup 2018 opening ceremony live ahead of Russia vs Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium

The wait is finally over…the 2018 World Cup is HERE.

In the tournament opener, hosts Russia take on Saudi Arabia in Group A.

The last time Russia made it to the knockout stages of any tournament was Euro 2008, where they reached the semi-finals.

Head coach Stanislav Cherchesov is banking on a new generation of players, including CSKA Moscow playmaker Aleksandr Golovin, 22, to give the home crowd something to cheer about.

Their first challenge comes in the form of Saudi Arabia, the lowest-ranked qualifiers.

And they’ll surely fancy their chances. The Green Falcons’ preparations have been nothing short of shambolic, with two managers sacked before current boss Juan Antonio Pizzi, took over.

FIFA World Cup 2018 Live Updates Russia vs Saudi Arabia Live Streaming: FIFA World Cup Live 2018 begins from Thursday with the hosts Russia taking on Saudi Arabia. The two nations are the lowest ranked teams in the World Cup, with Russia recently slipping to 70th position in FIFA Rankings, while the minnows Saudi Arabia placed at the 67th position. Before the start of the match, the fans will witness an extravagant opening ceremony which will feature some of the biggest names in international music world along with legendary footballing stars. The hosts will be eager to kick off things in a winning fashion, especially with

FIFA World Cup 2018 LIVE: The four-year wait is finally over and the quest to be crowned world champion will start this evening with Russia and Saudi Arabia kicking off the tournament. The hosts will take on the green falcons at the Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow. The Stanislav Cherchesov men would like to keep the tradition going by winning the opening match as hosts. The Soviets have a clear gameplan and have benefited from a switch to a back three – a formation used majorly at the club level.

Aleksandr Golovin is a young attacking midfielder with a magic touch. He and Anton Miranchuk are the keys to unlocking the defence with their through balls and creating chances for their goal-machine Fedor Smolov. However, Russia will sorely miss the injured striker Aleksandr Kokorin and the wing-backs are arguably too old and as for the centre-backs, they are too young and inexperienced.

WATCH| FIFA World Cup 2018 Opening Ceremony Live Streaming in India

Talking about Saudi Arabia, the side from the gulf is an attacking side with three midfielders – Salem al-Dawsari, Yahya al-Shehri and Fahad al-Muwallad, who can test any defence in Russia. Coach Juan Antonio Pizzi is expected to play a 4-2-3-1 formation, with an experienced defence.

WATCH| Russia vs Saudi Arabia, FIFA World Cup 2018 Live Streaming in India

However, the problem is that the back four are susceptible to pace and rarely plays against the kind of top-calibre attackers you find at the World Cup.

RUSSIA

Goalkeepers: Igor Akinfeev (CSKA Moscow), Vladimir Gabulov (Brugge/BEL), Andrey Lunev (Zenit St Petersburg)

Defenders: Vladimir Granat (Rubin Kazan), Fyodor Kudryashov (Rubin Kazan), Ilya Kutepov (Spartak Moscow), Andrey Semyonov (Akhmat Grozny), Igor Smolnikov (Zenit St Petersburg), Mario Fernandes (CSKA Moscow), Sergei Ignashevich (CSKA Moscow)

Midfielders: Yury Gazinsky (Krasnodar), Alan Dzagoev (CSKA Moscow), Alexander Golovin (CSKA Moscow), Alexander Erokhin (Zenit St Petersburg), Yury Zhirkov (Zenit St Petersburg), Daler Kuzyaev (Zenit St Petersburg), Roman Zobnin (Spartak Moscow, Alexander Samedov (Spartak Moscow), Anton Miranchuk (Lokomotiv Moscow), Denis Cheryshev (Villarreal/ESP)

Forwards: Artem Dzyuba (Arsenal Tula), Alexei Miranchuk (Lokomotiv Moscow), Fyodor Smolov (Krasnodar)

SAUDI ARABIA

Goalkeepers: Yasser al-Mosaileem (Al-Ahli), Abdullah al-Mayouf (Al-Hilal), Mohammed al-Owais (Al-Ahli)

Defenders: Mansour al-Harbi (Al-Ahli), Yasser al-Shahrani (Al-Hilal), Osama Hawsawi (Al-Hilal), Omar Hawsawi (Al-Nassr), Motaz Hawsawi (Al-Ahli), Ali al-Bulayhi (Al-Hilal), Mohammed al-Burayk (Al-Hilal)

Midfielders: Abdulla Otayf (Al-Hilal), Salman al-Faraj (Al-Hilal), Mohammed Kanno (Al-Hilal), Abdullah al-Khaibari (Al-Shabab), Hussein al-Moqahwi (Al-Ahli), Abdulmalik al-Khaibari (Al-Hilal), Hattan Bahebri (Al Shabab), Salem al-Dawsari (Al-Hilal), Taisir al-Jassim (Al-Ahli), Yahya al-Shehri (Al-Nassr), Fahad al-Muwallad (Al-Ittihad)