Hosts Russia takes on Saudi Arabia at 8:30 PM IST kick off time in the opening match at the Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow. The Russians will look to make history by qualifying to knock out stages for the first time in World Cup history.
This opening match is from Group A, where the Stanislav Cherchesov led hosts will face Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay.
Saudi Arabia’s manager, Juan Antonio Pizzi will be leading the Saudi Arabia national team in Group A, the former Chile coach failed to make the Copa America champions progress to the world cup 2018 but was later offered the Saudi Arabia coach role.
Both Russia and Saudi Arabia have had a rather unpleasant run heading to the world cup with Russia failing to secure a win in 7 non competitive attempts since beating Korea republic in October, while Saudis have lost three friendly matches in a row- albeit to strong opposition in Italy, Peru and World Cup holders Germany.
Both will also be hoping for victory at the Luzhniki to end a barren run at the global finals: Russia have not won at the World Cup since 2002, while Saudi Arabia’s last global finals’ victory came at USA 1994. (FIFA official website)