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Russia vs. Saudi Arabia 2018 World Cup: Pope Francis sends his greetings

W7WLG4UFTM4VXBUYC6BZA3L5S4 - Russia vs. Saudi Arabia 2018 World Cup: Pope Francis sends his greetings
Lovers cheer as they go out the metro close to the Luzhniki Stadium sooner than the hole fit of the 2018 International Cup. (Felipe Dana/Related Press)

Russia vs. Saudi Arabia 

Workforce A, Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow

Pope Francis took to Twitter sooner than the International Cup lid-lifter between host Russia and Saudi Arabia, giving the event his blessing:

The Dad or mum’s Martha Kelner is at the scene in Moscow with this great second:

Goalkeeper Iker Casillas, who captained Spain to its first International Cup identify in 2010, was once available to offer the trophy awarded to this 12 months’s winner:

Right here’s Steven Goff’s view as he covers the sport on web page for The Publish:

The hole-ceremony leisure was once equipped by means of English singer Robbie Williams and Russian soprano Aida Garifullina. Brazilian nice Ronaldo additionally was once at the box for all of it. It was once moderately temporary, which is rarely a nasty factor. Take notes, Olympics. Russian President Vladimir Putin additionally spoke, welcoming enthusiasts to “the planet’s largest soccer event” and pronouncing “we’re severely glad to host in our nation.”

As for the sport itself, it may well be the most efficient probability of victory for both crew in a gaggle that still contains Uruguay and Egypt. (Relating to FIFA’s ratings, Saudi Arabia and Russia are the lowest-rated groups within the box.) Each international locations are stocked with gamers from their very own skilled leagues, with 17 gamers on Saudi Arabia’s 23-man roster coming from simply two membership groups. 3 others had been loaned to groups in Spain’s L. a. Liga, even though most effective two noticed the sphere they usually blended for simply 56 mins of motion. Russia, in the meantime, has been beset by means of accidents to key members and its contemporary shape has no longer engendered self assurance: It’s winless in its 4 friendlies this 12 months, maximum lately going Zero-1-1 and scoring only one objective towards International Cup nonentities Austria and Turkey.

Your beginning lineups:

Russia: Akinfeev, Fernandes, Kutepov, Ignashevich, Zhirkov, Gazinskiy, Zobnin, Samedov, Golovin, Dzagoev, Smolov.

Saudi Arabia: Al-Maiouf, Al-Breik, Omar Hawsawi, Osama Hawsawi, Al-Shahrani, Al-Faraj, Otayf, Al-Jassim, Al-Shehri, Al-Dawsari, Al-Sahlawi.

Sergei Ignashevich, a 38-year-old middle again, got here out of retirement to rejoin the nationwide crew simply ultimate month (see the above observe about the entire accidents). He’s the most-capped participant in Russian historical past.

Russia has misplaced its ultimate 5 International Cup suits, ultimate beating Tunisia in its 2002 group-stage opener. There’s been just one International Cup host to not advance out of organization play: South Africa in 2010.

When: Thursday, June 14, 11 a.m. Jap.

How you can watch on TV: Fox.

How you can circulate on-line: Fox Sports activities and the Fox Football Fit Move apps and FOXSports.com.

How you can watch in Spanish: Telemundo.

How you can watch in Canada: Bell Media’s TSN and CTV networks, the TSN GO app and TSN.ca/reside.


The International Cup is right here. Need sensible research, evaluations, viewing guides and extra? Join our month-long publication. Each and every fit day throughout the ultimate July 15.


Staff profiles

Russia 

  • Final International Cup appearing: Workforce level, 2014.
  • Absolute best end: As Soviet Union, fourth position in 1966. As Russia, organization level thrice.
  • Notable: Russia hasn’t completed upper than 18th position in its 3 International Cup appearances since 1994, successful simply two of 9 suits over that span.
  • FIFA international score: 70. ELO international score: 45.

Saudi Arabia 

  • Final International Cup appearing: Workforce level, 2006.
  • Absolute best end: Spherical of 16, 1994.
  • Notable: In its 3 International Cup appearances since making the knockout spherical in its 1994 International Cup debut, Saudi Arabia has did not win a sport and has completed 28th, 32nd and 28th. The Inexperienced Falcons had been outscored, 26-Four, over that span.
  • FIFA international score: 67. ELO international score: 63.

Gamers to look at 

You by no means need to put an excessive amount of drive on one participant, however that’s precisely what Sami Al-Jaber, the now-retired Saudi Arabia nice, did for ahead Fahad Al-Muwallad. “He’s our Messi,” Al-Jaber instructed Arab Information, regarding the Argentine star. “No longer as just right clearly however simply as vital to us. Our hopes relaxation with him.” Al-Muwallad is among the 3 aforementioned gamers who hung out in Spain this season, spending the vast majority of his time at the bench for Levante. For the Russians, Aleksandr Golovin is a 22-year-old central midfielder whose play for CSKA Moscow reportedly has attracted the eye of Arsenal and Monaco this offseason. Identified for his relentless protection and pinpoint passing, Golovin has been with Russia’s senior nationwide crew since he was once a teen and scored simply 16 mins into his first fit in 2015.

What’s subsequent 

Russia: vs. Egypt in St. Petersburg, June 19.

Saudi Arabia: vs. Uruguay in Rostov-on-Don, June 20.

Learn extra in regards to the International Cup:

U.S., Mexico and Canada win joint bid for 2026 International Cup, topping Morocco in FIFA vote

2018 International Cup teams: Previews and predictions

In Iceland, International Cup gamers aren’t gods. They’re neighbors.

Peru may well be the marvel crew of the International Cup with Paolo Guerrero again

Spain fires its trainer two days sooner than International Cup opener

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