On Thursday 14th June, the twenty first football World Cup will start in Russia, it will be the eleventh time it has been held in Europe and we here at Monkey Adventure cannot wait for it to start. The last European World Cup was Germany back in 2006 when Italy won the Jules Remy Trophy, however the four times winners have not even qualified for this tournament. As for Russia, well this will be just their fourth ever finals after only previously reaching the 1994, 2002 and 2014 ones. This time of course they haven’t even had to qualify as the host nation doesn’t have to, so it’s been a long year or so of friendlies as well as three games in last year’s Confederations Cup.
Their preparation hasn’t been great though, having only won two of their ten friendlies so far and they also only won one game in the Confederations Cup too. They have two more friendlies to come against Austria and Turkey to get things right, as they’ll at least be expected to qualify out of Group A where they face Egypt, Uruguay and Saudi Arabia. The Saudi team will be at their fifth World Cup this time around, after finishing second behind Japan in Group B of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) qualification process.
These two countries have met once before, however it was way back in October 1993 and the score-line was Saudi Arabia 4 v Russia 2, so clearly it will have no relevance on this game at all. Opening games in recent World Cups though do tend to have plenty of goals, with twelve coming in the last three opening games. Hopefully we’ll be in for some more goals then as these two meet once again.
Stanislav Cherchesov is Russia’s coach and he will want his relatively inexperienced side to get off to a great start and with the majority of Russia’s players currently playing in Russia domestically, they’ll be under real pressure to perform. Can the hosts then get out of the group stage for the first time? Well, Saudi head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi will have something to say about that as they themselves look to get out of the group stage for just the second-time ever.
Russia 2 v Saudi Arabia 1 is our prediction, let’s just hope it’s an entertaining start. Monkey and out.
Group A World Cup Fixtures
14 June Russia vs. Saudi Arabia (4pm, ITV)
15 June Egypt vs. Uruguay (1pm, BBC)
19 June Russia vs. Egypt (7pm, BBC)
20 June Uruguay vs. Saudi Arabia (4pm, BBC)
25 June Uruguay vs. Russia (3pm, ITV)
Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt (3pm, ITV4)