It’s here at last. The World Cup starts with the host nation, Russia, facing Saudi Arabia.
The Russians could not have asked for a better opener, in fact the less said about the extremely kind draw the hosts, and lowest ranked side in the tournament, received the better.
Since the split up of the Soviet Union, the Russian side has failed to make the knockout phases of the World Cup on the three occasions it qualified. But while this side is not that impressive – they have failed to win any of their last seven friendly games – they have a chance of progressing this time.
Saudi Arabia’s record at the World Cup is poor. They have been here four times before, finishing bottom of their group on the last three occasions. They haven’t won a match in the last 10 attempts.
We’re not expecting a classic today, but think the home advantage will spur Russia on to a narrow win.
We’re already keen on Russian dead ball expert Aleksandr Samedov to top the scoring for the hosts (World Cup: 16/1 Aleks can be spot on in Group A), but those not on him could look at the first goal scorer odds for a punt in this game.
Recommendation: Russia to win 1-0, 1 pt, at 4/1, William Hill
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