Russia v Saudi Arabia, 14th June, 4pm(GMT)

JJ1532

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Well here we are, the opening of the World Cup.

And boy.....what a dull game to start with. I know it can't be helped given who the hosts are and who they were drawn with, but this game just screams a yawn fest. And given the time it starts, we could have a low audience for this one.

Russia though will go into this game with a heap loads of pressure, as their athletes and sports teams always seem to do. I'm not going to pretend I know anything about this team, but on paper, I'm struggling to recognise more than a couple of their players. Maybe others can provide more of an insight. Must win game this for them regardless though.

Nice to see a team who haven't been here in a while qualify though, first appearance for the Saudi's since 2006. They haven't won a game since 1994 though, so will be hoping to end a 24 year wait. They breezed through their qualification group with a better record than their previous 4 times they made it. So maybe this is a golden generation of players? They are probably helped by the fact most of their squad play for 2 teams in Saudi Arabia, so the chemistry and understanding must be high.

Can the Saudi's spring an upset and get something off the Russians? How will Russia cope with the pressure of being the host nation and having the eyes of their country on them?

All match chat in here.
 

AFCB_Mark

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I can't pretend to know huge amounts about the Saudi squad and their players, beyond the simple spotting from the roster that a significant amount come from the same one or two Saudi clubs. Which might suggest they'll be quite well organised as a unit that knows each other.

I look at the issues Russia have, the fact they can't put a defence together and are conceding so many goals. Recalling 38 year old Ignashevich from retirement after losing Dzhikiya and Vasin to injury. The wider squad being on the poor side. The fact that the manager Cherchesov seems to be under massive pressure with calls for him to be sacked before the tournament has even started.

To me the gulf between these two sides can't be as large as the bookies odds currently suggest. The odds suggest a Russian win is almost a foregone conclusion. I don't understand how they can come to that conclusion. I will put a few pennies on a double chance, Saudi Arabia upsetting the locals and getting something from this game.
 

Libertadores FC

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I can't pretend to know huge amounts about the Saudi squad and their players, beyond the simple spotting from the roster that a significant amount come from the same one or two Saudi clubs. Which might suggest they'll be quite well organised as a unit that knows each other.

I look at the issues Russia have, the fact they can't put a defence together and are conceding so many goals. Recalling 38 year old Ignashevich from retirement after losing Dzhikiya and Vasin to injury. The wider squad being on the poor side. The fact that the manager Cherchesov seems to be under massive pressure with calls for him to be sacked before the tournament has even started.

To me the gulf between these two sides can't be as large as the bookies odds currently suggest. The odds suggest a Russian win is almost a foregone conclusion. I don't understand how they can come to that conclusion. I will put a few pennies on a double chance, Saudi Arabia upsetting the locals and getting something from this game.

Saudi Arabia are nowhere near as bad as some suggest. They aren't a good team, but I wouldn't call them second worst. Very fast paced and technical game they play, and the Saudi Arabian league is the best in the middle east, with local talent that actually knows how to play.
 

EricSabin

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Russia will have enough to beat the Saudis to nil in the first game
 

mistermagic

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I do hope the Russians can get to the 1st KO stage by finishing 2nd behind Uruguay. Always breaks your heart when the hosts gets knocked out in the group stage. Like England at the last Rugby World Cup.
 
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What a lovely first game we have. Hopefully it's 2010-style and something Tshabalala-esque happens. Something memorable, my worst fears is that it will be a 0-0 and it would be a sign of things to come.

Keep an eye on Fedor Smolov, could be a breakout star.
 

Jockney

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To call this a yawnfest, based on both sides being hugely unfashionable, seems to miss part of the attraction of the World Cup. The appeal of the early rounds is that they often pose odd pairings -- nations who are geographically or geopolitically worlds apart -- players you've never heard of before taking their chance on the world stage and making a name for themselves. It's a cultural event before it's a sporting event, which is why it generates excitement even among non-football fans.
 

Crewelad87

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The Saudis are massively mispriced here. It will be a tight game, I wouldn't be shocked at all to see a Saudi Arabia win.
 

Benji

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I don't know much about either team here. However I suspect Russia to be rather crap and Saudi only narrowly lost to a crap Italy so I fancy them to get a draw.
 

AnimoEtFide

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To call this a yawnfest, based on both sides being hugely unfashionable, seems to miss part of the attraction of the World Cup. The appeal of the early rounds is that they often pose odd pairings -- nations who are geographically or geopolitically worlds apart -- players you've never heard of before taking their chance on the world stage and making a name for themselves. It's a cultural event before it's a sporting event, which is why it generates excitement even among non-football fans.

For those of us of a certain vintage it's a reminder of what World Cups were like before YouTube and blanket football media coverage - watching games featuring players you've never heard of hoping you'll discover a gem (and nine times out of ten quickly realising why you've never heard of them).
 

SALTIRE

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Blimey two oppressive regimes facing off? Eugh, what an opening match!
 

rudebwoyben

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I do hope the Russians can get to the 1st KO stage by finishing 2nd behind Uruguay. Always breaks your heart when the hosts gets knocked out in the group stage. Like England at the last Rugby World Cup.
Usually I’d agree with you but for this and the next World Cup finals I fervently desire that the host nation crashes out with three straight defeats.
 

cufc17

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Watched Saudi Arabia against Germany earlier tonight, and they played really well. Kept the ball and created quite a few chances, unlucky not to equalise too.

17/2 looks a great price considering Russia’s squad, even with the home backing.
 

Dirk

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Watched Saudi Arabia against Germany earlier tonight, and they played really well.

they played well and we played shit (at least in the 2nd half.) We simply shouldn't be allowed to play friendlies (or "test matches") anymore.

Kept the ball and created quite a few chances, unlucky not to equalise too.

tbh they were already lucky to get a penalty for a non-foul. Yes they could've equalised in the last seconds but we wasted some good chances too (as usual in the past). Thank God that these boring friendlies are now over and we are going to the tournament. Germany and friendlies that simply doesn't work. It seems that it's totally against our mentality to play just for "fun" without a competition.

At least Marco Reus didn't get an injury again in the last match before the tournament (like in 2014 and 2016). That's the only positive (and the 1-0 with a brilliant combination Kimmich to Reus to Werner).
 
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mistermagic

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Deutschland even making Saudi Arabia look good I see...
 
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I've not been here long. Not by a long stretch, but I reckon I speak for a lot of people here when I say I haven't been as excited to see a game Saudi Arabia face Russia in a long time.
 

Hooped Wizard

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Didn’t the Saudi loan half their national team to La Lisa clubs for experince only for them all not to play a game all season?

There manager has also gone to Australia.

Russia will narrowly win this but won’t get out of the group.
 

Predator373

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I predict a 1-1 Draw in this game, I can see Saudi taking a suprise lead in the first half and then the crowd pushing Russia to get a late equaliser, I think neither team will get out of group A.
 

Bilo

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Wonderful opening goal, as always.
 

Chris FGR

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Good game so far, two decent teams. Shame to see Dzagoev doing his hamstring quality player.
 

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Saudi are far too brittle in defence with their central defenders constantly giving the ball away to give themselves a chance. I don't think Russia are any great shakes but I can see them profiting from this to get that second goal.
 

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Russia are as bad as I suspected, but Saudi are slightly worse than I presumed. Especially in defence.
 

SF_

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Saudi Arabia defend like children.

That's a better line if you say it in a Russian accent.
 

Liam_SWFC

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Terrible defending from the Saudis, never going to get anywhere being as open as they are, be an important 3 points for Russia though if they hold on as you'd expect Egypt and Uruguay to be far tougher games.
 

Liam_SWFC

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what the fuck did you see the sliding challenges for that second goal?

He's a Forest Green fan, this is levels above what's goes on at The New Lawn.
 

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