Group A headliners Russia are due to start off the big tournament vs Saudi Arabia on June 14th 2018. In eastern time, it starts at 11 AM. It’s the opening match on the opening day. It doesn’t matter if it’s Canada vs American Samoa, the first match is always exciting.
So let’s learn more about our host nation, who didn’t have to go through a qualifying process.
Manager: Stanislav Cherchesov , managed Spartak Moscow and Dynamo Moscow so he’s known to be a domestic manager, was a goalkeeper in his playing days. He probably wan’t change much from the recently fired Slutsky. He has a preference for an attacking style which can prevail over a defensive style in tournaments like this.
6/14 11 AM vs Saudi Arabia
6/19 2:00 PM vs Egypt
6/25 10:00 AM vs Uruguay
Igor Akinfeev: Goalkeeper Captain for the National Team and CSKA Moscow. Aged 32 years old and known for his leadership and consistency. A man who’s played at CSKA Moscow all his life and has also won 6 Russian Premier :League titles. He should come into this competition in good form.
Aleksandr Kokorin: Forward for Zenit St. Petersburg aged 27 he’s entering the plateau of his career at the perfect time. This year, he scored 18 goals in 27 apperances. Given that the Russian Premier league is rather tough and in his group, his toughest defender to face is Diego Godin, expect Kokorin to knock in a goal or two in front of the home fans.
Artem Dzyuba: Forward on loan for Arsenal Tula in the Russian Premier League. He’s been on the decline at Zenit St. Petersburg so his starting spot and squad spot is up in the air.
Roman Neustadter: Defensive Midfielder/ Center-Back at the age of 30 is one of the few players who doesn’t play for a domestic club, who actually plays for Fenerbahce in Turkey. Who was previously on the German National Team, he switched to the Russian team in 2016. Known for his Schalke days from 2012-2016, he is the strongest central defender on the team.
How Far Can They Go?
I honestly don’t see Russia going past the group stage in this tournament. I do see them defeating Saudi Arabia but vs an underrated Egypt team with the hottest player in the world, I see them getting a draw at best. That and in their final game, in terms of quality, Uruguay is easily better than Russia and is a team that could go deep. They won’t embarrass themselves as I see them rocking the country on Opening Day, but that’s as far as they’ll go.