7 & # 39 ;: Russia Plays Aggressor
Dzagoev and Zobnin have been gaining a lot of space for Russia. So far they have not been able to put it in the box effectively, but Russia is definitely in the lead.
Rory Smith: Fortunately, that goal calmed Russia, and the first signs are that there is now a bit of confidence in the host, but the pace of the start is still high.
3 & # 39 ;: Saudi Arabia in early trouble
The first corner of the game was for Russia, and Saudi Arabia's defensive anchor Osama Hawsawi was forced to clear it from the line. A dangerous situation for Saudi Arabia immediately.
0 & # 39 ;: Saudi Arabia in green, Russia in red
We are running in Moscow! Saudi Arabia starts using green, while Russia is red.
Vladimir Putin opens the World Cup
Vladimir Putin gave a speech in Russian welcoming the crowd and the opening of the World Cup. There is always a wave of excitement around the world for the first game of the Cup, although that is somewhat toned down this year because the game happens to be between the teams ranked 67th and 70th. As usual, the new World Cup brings a new FIFA ball: this year it is white with gray pixelated hexagons.
Opening Ceremony: Robbie Williams takes the stage
The crowd in Moscow was invited to an opening ceremony with pop star Robbie Williams, Russian soprano Aida Garifullina and the usual series of brightly dressed extras forming letters and patterns in the countryside. They went through some of Williams' greatest hits, including "Let Me Entertain You" and "Angels." Ronaldo, the former Brazilian star was also present, but did not have the opportunity to sing.
Here is the alignment of Russia  1 Akinfeev
11 Zobnin  17 Golovin
18 Zhirkov  19 Samedov
• Many people expected the Russian midfield twins, Aleksei and Anton Miranchuk, to be a key part of the team. But they are not in the announced starting lineup. Russia has the luxury of a fairly deep midfield, by far its best area. As for the strength of the Saudi team … it is not clear if there is one.
Here is the alignment of Saudi Arabia
Russia vs. Saudi Arabia Top Story Lines
• Local teams have tended to do well in the World Cup. But such is the world ranking of Russia (only 70, behind Albania) and the recent form (1-2 in the Confederations Cup, a friendly defeat against Austria) that the hopes are not high. Russia may not even manage to get out of a rather weak group that contains Uruguay and Egypt, let alone threaten to win the overall title as six host teams have.
• On the other hand, Russia is opening against Saudi Arabia, by acclaim the weakest team of the tournament, with odds of 1000-1 or more. A 3-0 friendly beating from Peru earlier this month was not conducive.
• Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev is 32 years old and has played for Russia since he was 18 years old. But it has always been considered below the best net-minders in Europe. Lifetime at CSKA Moscow, he is the type of player that appears in the early stages of the Champions League and disappears before the actual games begin.
• Another CSKA star is Aleksandr Golovin, who is only 22 years old and will probably be active soon. your way to a bigger European team. It is a versatile talent, and if Russia is going to resurface as a world leader in the coming years, it is likely to be a big part of it.
• Saudi Arabia lacks big names, to say the least. Of its 23 players, 20 are based on the dark Saudi league, while three others play for the type of Spanish teams that are not often shown on television. Watch Mohamed Al-Sahlawi, who has a nose for the target. His 16 rankings led the world, although some of them came against the weak opposition (eight in total in two games against Timor Leste).
• The last time Saudi Arabia qualified, in 2006 it achieved a single draw. In 2002, he was 0-3 including an 8-0 loss to Germany.
Some pregame reading
• Russian captain to Now jokes with soccer players: They always did things in Tolyatti. Despite an economic slowdown, they still make cars, barely less than before: Ladas and Renaults and Nissans, some of them sold in the innumerable concessionaires that line the road to Samara, the regional capital, but most of them are sent north, to Moscow and St. Petersburg, or west to Europe, or east to China. But on the way, in the quiet suburb of Primorsky, there is another factory, another production line. In the last 15 years, Tolyatti has become a city that makes soccer players.
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