After yesterday’s news that a joint bid from Canada, Mexico and the USA was selected to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, it’s time to look ahead to the opening game of this year’s tournament.
World Cup hosts Russia take on Saudi Arabia in the only match being played today.
The hosts are not coming into the tournament in good form. In fact, they have played four friendlies this year and have failed to win a single one of those matches.
Russian fans are not optimistic about their chances to win the tournament, but they feel that they should qualify from the group. However, that could be easier said than done as Group A also contains Egypt and Uruguay.
Two Russian players to look out for today are Aleksei Miranchuk and Fyodor Smolov. Miranchuk is an attacking midfielder for Lokomotiv Moscow, where he has played his entire professional career, and he is arguably Russia’s most creative player.
Smolov on the other hand is an out and out goal scorer. The 28 year old striker has scored goals for every team he’s played for and his record for the Russian national team is not one to be scoffed at. Smolov has netted 12 times in 32 appearances for the hosts.
The Saudi Arabian national team is back at the FIFA World Cup for the first time since 2006. They have only ever qualified for 4 World Cup’s, the first of which saw them reach the Round of 16 back in 1994.
I think it’s that if Saudi Arabia were to qualify from Group A that it would certainly be a huge shock to fans around the world. They are currently 17/2 to win today’s match and 1000/1 to lift the trophy at the end of the tournament.
The newly constructed Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow is the location for this game and it is also going to be used for the final.
The original stadium was demolished in 2013 to make way for the brand-new stadium. Construction was completed in 2017 and the capacity has been increased from 78,000 to 81,000 so there should be a great atmosphere this evening.
Kick Off Time & TV Coverage:
Kick off for the opening game of this year’s World Cup is at 4pm and ITV will be building up to the starting whistle from 2:30pm.
No host nation has ever lost in the opening game of the FIFA World Cup.
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