Now let’s move onto the team that Russia faces on the first day, that team being Saudi Arabia. Probably the most unknown team, let’s look at how they qualified:
They finished 2nd in Group B for the Asian/Oceanic regions, finishing ahead of Australia and behind Japan. Key wins over Thailand, Iraq and Japan was what carried them through.
Head Coach/Manager: Juan Antonio Pizzi, third coach within a year and former coach of the Chilean national team. Former Barcelona player, Pizzi will look to stay positive and do what he can with the squad. Don’t expect major differences or anything too crazy as Pizzi realizes he’s on a cooler seat. Expect build up play and aims to one of their highest scorers, Mohammad Al Sahlawi.
6/14 11 AM vs Russia
6/20 11 AM vs Uruguay
6/25 10 AM vs Egypy
Mohammad Al-Sahlawi- The 6th highest goal-scorer for the national team, Al-Sahlawi is a dominant force in the domestic league, playing for Al-Nassr. Eleven goals in twenty three apperances is a decent number and if they get the ball up to him, expect a goal or two
Osama Hawsawi- Captain of the Saudi Arabian squad with over 100 national appearances in his belt. A central defender for the domestic Al-Hilal, look for him to lead the squad from the center of the park.
Salem Al-Dawsari- One of the few players who doesn’t play in the domestic league, a winger for Villareal in La Liga. He can use his top league experience to hi advantage around lesser quality wing-backs. His dribbling and ball control skills should be vital in getting a move going.
How Far Can They Go?
Don’t cal me a hater but I don’t see Saudi Arabia winning a game here. Their best chance is Russia on Opening day, a hyped up and attack minded Russia. Next they’ll have a well-balanced Uruguay and they’ll have the good chance against Egypt, depending on how they play. They might sneak in a draw, but I see them getting knocked out with the home nation.