Russia vs Saudi Arabia Group A World Cup Picks & Predictions 6/14/2018
World Cup Group A
Thursday, June 14, 2018
Russia will play at Luzhniki Stadium when they take on Saudi Arabia on Thursday, June 14, 2018 in a Group A matchup. The opening line for this game has Russia at -245 and Saudi Arabia at +750. The total has been set at 2.25. These are two of the lowest-ranked teams in the world right now, though that could be seen as an advantage to both nations since it gives them both a slightly higher chance of advancing. Russia will be the favorites in this opening game thanks in large part to playing in front of their home fans.
Many people have wondered if Russia would have made it into the group stages if they weren't automatic selections as the host nation. They do have some talent in their squad, but they've struggled over the last couple of years. They have a young defense that might be a bit overwhelmed on the biggest of stages, but they so have some offensive firepower that should keep them in most of these group stage games. The host country comes into the World Cup ranked 66th in the world. Head coach Stanislav Cherchesov hasn't done too well since taking over, going just 5-6-9 through his first 20 matches.
The 22-year-old attacking midfielder has four goals in 14 national team appearances and looks to be the offensive player to watch for Russia this year. He loves to dribble at defenses, often drawing fouls in great spots.
Smolov should be Russia's main man up front and he will be looking to get in great positions for his teammates. The 28-year-old has 12 goals in 32 career international games.
Saudi Arabia performed much better than most people expected during qualifiers, finishing just a single point behind Japan to make it to this stage. This is just the fourth time in their history that Saudi Arabia will be in the World Cup, so they've already probably met their goals for the year. They don't have much of a chance of making it through, but in a weaker group they do have a slight chance if they can keep the scores low. Ranked 67th by FIFA coming into the World Cup, they are one of the lowest ranked teams at the tournament. Juan Antonio Pizzi took over as head coach in 2017 and has compiled a 3-1-4 record.
If there's one player on this team that can do some special things for them at the World Cup this year, it'd be Mohammed Al-Sahlawi. He has a very impressive 28 goals in just 39 games for his country, including 16 in 14 games during qualifications. He's known for getting into great positions in the box and he has the pace to get past a lot of the defenders in this group.
Nawaf Al Abed
The little attacker will pop up just about everywhere up front for Saudi Arabia, possibly causing some problems for the lesser defenses in this group. He has scored eight international goals in 44 appearances and he seems to step up his game when playing in bigger tournaments.
Key Russia Injuries
No key injuries to report
Key Saudi Arabia Injuries
No key injuries to report
Who will win tonight's Russia/Saudi Arabia World Cup game against the spread?
Tony's Pick: Take Russia -245
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