Russia vs Saudi Arabia preview, betting tips and prediction

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The World Cup kicks off in Moscow…

Russia to win and BTTS at 10/3 with Coral

Russia bring the curtain up on this summer’s World Cup against Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Thursday afternoon. Group A also includes Uruguay and Egypt; a victory in the first game will give them a decent chance of progression to the next round. On the pitch, the Russians have struggled since the retirement of a number of their bigger players in years gone by and currently sit 64th in the FIFA World Rankings, though that is partly down to fewer games, having not had to qualify for the tournament this summer. But they are still favourites for this game, with a number of talented players able to inspire them. CSKA Moscow playmaker Alan Dzagoev hasn’t exactly fulfilled his potential, having once been predicted to play for one of Europe’s biggest clubs, but he has still taken on a talismanic role in the side and will be a big player this summer.

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Saudi Arabia have reached their first World Cup since 2006 and, in Juan Antonio Pizzi, the Argentine former Chile boss, they have an experienced coach who can bring a lot to their team. They are  expected to struggle, but as they showed in their friendly game at Germany on Friday, they can be a real threat on the counter attack, particularly through Fahad Al-Muwallad, who played for Levante last season. The winger has been dubbed ‘the Saudi Arabian Messi’, and his importance to the team was clear at the BayArena. As soon as he took the game to Die Mannschaft, his team followed suit. They lost 2-1, but were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty in the last minute, which would have given them a chance to equalise.

Artem Dzyuba is expected to lead the line for Russia, and backing him to score anytime at 7/5 with Coral could be without it. Dzagoev can be found at 12/5. For the Saudis, Al-Muwallad is at 9/2, while Mohammed Al-Sahlawi, who starred in qualification, can be found at 10/3.

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