World Cup 2018 starts with the opening ceremonies and a match between the hosts and one of the worst teams to qualify. This Group A match could help determine if Russia or Egypt advance.
Russia vs. Saudi Arabia
Time: 8:00 AM
Location: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
TV: FOX (English) and Telemundo (Spanish)
Announcing team: JP Dellacamera and Tony Meola (English)
Winning the bid to host the World Cup comes with a few privileges including automatic qualification (something the USA, Italy, Netherlands and Chile among others might be envious of right now) and despite being the 70th ranked team in the world at time of kickoff, Russia is the seeded team in Group A that also includes Egypt and Uruguay. No team has ever lost the World Cup opener at home and Russia have the easiest opener they could hope for as Saudi Arabia is ranked 67th in the world meaning this opener is being contested by the two lowest ranked teams in the World Cup.
Saudi Arabia last won a World Cup game in 1994 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. when they beat Belgium 1-0. Since that win to close the group stage in 1994, Saudi Arabia has lost eight and drawn two matches while failing to qualify for 2010 and 2014.
With Egypt currently struggling, having gone winless in six games since clinching qualification for Russia, and their captain Mohamed Salah still battling fitness after a shoulder injury in the Champions League final, this game could go a long way to deciding who advances out of Group A along with group favorites Uruguay.
Author’s note: Welcome to Day 1 of your daily Sounder at Heart World Cup gamethreads. Let’s start this month long journey together. We will have a daily posting here at Sounder at Heart with streaming links, a preview and TV information. Sounder at Heart has a wonderful Sounders Guide to World Cup 2018 post which will have information on local bars, coffee places and general establishments showing the games if you want to watch with friends.
This is your Sounder at Heart World Cup Day 1 gamethread. Watch with us.