Here it is! The FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia is finally underway.
The first match of the competition always has a special taste, being viewed by millions of people around the world.
The kick-off is the best occasion for the host to show his strength.
A very rare matchup
Russia and Saudi Arabia played against each other in 1993 and it resulted in a 4-2 win for the latter.
However, these teams have not played each other since then, mainly due to political reasons.
Russia is currently ranked 70th and Saudi Arabia 67th in the official FIFA rankings, so it may not look like the most exciting game of the tournament but as we said, opening games are always special.
We even have to go back to the 1970 Mexico World Cup to see a goalless first game for the host country, so let's hope we will see some bangers in this first match!
The home country as the favourite
Russia will be the favourite to grab the first 3 points in what looks like a pretty balanced group overall.
Uruguay are likely to take the first spot with the likes of Suarez, Cavani and Godin, but a tough battle is expected for the second place between Russia and Salah's Egypt.
Saudi Arabia will come as an underdog and will have nothing to lose.
They look like the weakest team in this group on the paper, but they have shown some good performances in the past.
Saudi Arabia played against Germany in a friendly recently, losing only 2-1 to the reigning World Champions.
The Russians will enjoy their crowd's support, having high chances of dominating the match overall.
However, they will have to be weary of Saudi’s quick players which will represent a big threat on counter attacks.
Current form and betting odds
The Sbornaya's current form is not the best ahead of such an important tournament at home.
Indeed, Stanislav Cherchesov's side's last win was in September 2017 against Dynamo Moscow, and we even have to go back to June 2017 to see their last win against another country – a 2-0 win against New Zealand.
On the other hand, Saudi Arabia won 2-0 against Algeria and Greece in May, before losing 3 times in a row to Italy (1-2), Peru (0-3) and eventually Germany (1-2).
The Saudi players lost to teams that are way better on the paper, yet showing that they can score against some of the best defences in the world such as Italy and Germany.
Our football experts prediction see the hosts coming out with the win, as the odd for a Russian win is at an average 1.50 against 8.00 for a Saudi win and 4.00 for a draw.
The odd for both teams to score is 2.40 – let's hope that we will witness some exciting football for this opening match!
Make sure to place your bet on the right team!