9 Mins: Golovin and Zhirkov provide pressure down the left flank. Golovin’s cross is blocked, but the latter’s is deflected behind for a corner.
8 Mins: Mario Fernandes was active in that surge down the right for the home side. Expect him to continue to be a presence down the flank.
7 Mins: Osama Hawsawi makes a vital tackle at the near post after Samedov had cut the ball back for Smolov in the box. The Saudi skipper was in the right place at the right time to make the covering challenge.
6 Mins: There are a few nervy touches in the opening stages of the game. Both sets of players are looking tentative with the ball at their feet.
5 Mins: Al Sahlawi collects in a decent position for the Saudis, but he turns away from goal with four Russia defenders back on the edge of the box.
4 Mins: A scrappy start to the game as both sides are trying to build a passing game, although control has been an issue in the early stages.
2 Mins: Dzagoev goes on the surge in the right inside channel, but he gets crowded out before he can force the ball across the face of goal.
2 Mins: Samedov wins an early free-kick for the hosts down the right flank. Russia opt to keep the ball on the ground rather than send a delivery into the box.
1 Min: The 2018 World Cup is underway.
Last fact before kick-off. Saudi Arabia have also never won their opening game at the World Cup. Can Russia get off on the front foot? Let’s find out.
In the only previous meeting between Russia and Saudi Arabia, the Saudis claimed a 4-2 win on home soil in October 1993.
The speeches are over. Now it’s time for the national anthems.
Russian president Vladimir Putin will now officially open the tournament.
The teams are out on the pitch. It’s almost time for action.
10 Mins to KO: Al Sahlawi scored 16 goals for the Green Falcons during qualifying for the tournament, which made him the joint top-scorer in the process alongside Robert Lewandowski. The forward will have his sights set on Russia’s makeshift defence and aiming to kickstart his tournament with a strong outing.
Ignashevich faces a daunting prospect today after being hauled out of retirement to start in the middle of the defence. Ruslan Kambolov’s injury has paved the way for the 38-year-old to return and alongside Kutepov, he has to provide the leadership and strength at the back to be the anchor of his team.
15 Mins to KO: Back to the match at hand. Saudi Arabia are entering the tournament off the back of three-straight defeats. However, their last encounter against Germany will offer hope as they matched the world champions for large portions of the game. They lost the contest 2-1, with Taisir Al Jassam netting a late goal to send German nerves jangling.
Brazil legend Ronaldo is getting into the mix now. He’s not blasting out a beat with Robbie, but he’s here and dressed to the nines.
20 Mins to KO: As we prepare for kick-off in the Luzhniki Stadium, we are experiencing the greatest hits of Robbie Williams performed by the man himself on a giant football in the middle of the pitch. Nice.
25 Mins to KO: The pressure is on the hosts to get off to a good start to the tournament. No host nation has lost their opening game in the history of the tournament. As a result, the eyes of Russia will be on Stanislav Cherchesov and his team to pull off a fine performance to defeat Saudi Arabia this afternoon.
Finally, the festival of football is here. We’ve got 64 games, 32 teams…but there can be only one winner. And the action starts today!!
Hello and welcome to live text commentary of the Group A match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The scene is set for the tournament opener!
|Game||Russia vs Saudi Arabia|
|Date||Thursday, June 14|
|Time||4pm BST / 11am US ET|
|Stream (US only)||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
Confirmed Russia XI: Igor Akinfeev; Mario Fernandes, Ilya Kutepov, Sergey Ignashevich, Yury Zhirkov; Yuri Gazinskiy, Roman Zobnin; Aleksandr Samedov, Alan Dzagoev, Aleksandr Golovin; Fedor Smolov.
Russia Subs: Andrey Semenov, Denis Cheryshev, Daler Kuzyaev, Andrey Lunev, Fedor Kudryashov, Vladimir Granat, Aleksey Miranchuk, Anton Miranchuk, Vladimir Gabulov, Aleksandr Erokhin, Artem Dzyuba, Igor Smolnikov.
Confirmed Saudi Arabia XI: Abdullah Al-Maiouf; Mohammed Alburayk, Osama Hawsawi, Omar Hawsawi, Yasser Al-Shahrani; Abdullah Otayf; Salem Al-Dawsari, Salman Al-Faraj, Taiseer Al-Jassam, Yahia Al-Shehri; Mohammed Al-Sahlawi.
Saudi Arabia Subs: Mansour Al-Harbi, Ali Albulayhi, Hattan Bahebri, Abdulmalek Al-Khaibri, Mohammed Kanno, Abdullah Al Khaibari, Hussain Al-Mogahwi, Fahad Al Muwallad, Mohannad Aseri, Yasser Al-Mosailem, Mohammed Al Owais, Motaz Hawsawi.
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial).
New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|FOX||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be watched live on ITV or streamed live online using the ITV Player.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|