Thursday 14th June 2018

Event of the day

Our event of the day is the Football World Cup 2018 opening match with Russia up against Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. Would Russia have got to the World Cup if it had not been for their position as hosts? Looking at their results and their form, it seems unlikely. They are without a win in any of their last 7 matches. They will be hoping that home advantage, with the whole country roaring them on, will provide the much-needed impetus to go on and win this game. They couldn’t have asked for much better initial opposition too - Saudi Arabia are in their first World Cup since 2006, and have only won two matches ever (both at USA ‘94). 

So, who are the players to watch for in this match? Well for Russia, since their strong defenders - the Berezutski brothers from CSKA - decided to quit international football, they have been conceding goals at an alarming rate. Therefore, a lot rests on the shoulders of Igor Akinfeev, their star goalkeeper. Alan Dzagoev also remains important in supporting their attack. For the Saudis, Nawaf Al Abed and Osama Hawsawi will be vital to their efforts in getting out of Group A. Al Abed is their main play-maker, with a successful qualification campaign under his belt. This is a team who have had no problem scoring goals, but will have to rely on Hawsawi, their veteran defender and captain, to assist with keeping them out. This is a very important match for Russia. They have been handed about as easy a group as they could hope for - now are they able to get out of it?

Honourable mentions around the globe go to the opening round of the 118th U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills in Southampton, New York. Shinnecock Hills last hosted the U.S. Open in 2004 and is famous for how challenging the course was and for the almost unplayable circumstances. There is a starting field of 156 players and the main names to watch out for are world number one Dustin Johnson, defending champion Brooks Koepka, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods. There are the Quarter-Finals of the Royal London One Day Cup with Nottinghamshire versus Kent and Essex versus Yorkshire. It is Day 1 of the second Test in the Series between West Indies and Sri Lanka at Gros Islet in St Lucia. In MLB, the Seattle Mariners take on the Boston Red Sox at Safeco Field in Seattle. In the AFL, Port Adelaide are up against Western Bulldogs. In NRL the Eels meet the Rabbitohs at ANZ stadium. 

Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!

Fixture

Photos by FIFA 

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