Russia v Saudi Arabia preview: Hosts to kick off with narrow win

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The wait is finally over. After all the hype and build-up, the World Cup is upon us. It kicks off this afternoon with… Russia against Saudi Arabia.

Alright, it doesn’t look like a thriller on paper. But anything can happen on football’s biggest stage.

Will Russia become the first host nation to lose the opening game? We’ve got them as 4/9 favourites. Saudi Arabia are out at 8/1 and the draw is 29/10.

The hosts may not have won a game since last October, but they’ll be desperate to impress. It’s 11/10 that Russia have the lead at half-time.

If Russia go in front, it could be enough for them to get a crucial win. These are the two lowest ranked sides in the competition – Russia are 70th and the Saudis are 67th. Russia to Win to Nil is 19/20.

Feder Smolov will lead the line for the Russians. He’s 11/5 to get the first goal of the tournament.

It’s worth keeping an eye on Aleksandr Golovin too. You can get 12/5 on the creative midfielder scoring.

Mohammed Al-Sahlawi scored the most goals in AFC qualifying for Russia (16). He’s 10/3 to get a goal here.

Click here for the latest Russia v Saudi Arabia odds.

All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication

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