Eyes across the planet will be on the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Thursday, as host nation Russia get the FIFA World Cup under way against Saudi Arabia.

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The first match of this competition is always an event to be savoured, and the weight of pressure of an expectant country will fall on the shoulders of the Russian side. The preparation for the tournament hasn"t been ideal for Stanislav Cherchesov"s team, though.

Saudi Arabia manager Juan Antonio Pizzi will hope his players can spring a shock in the Russian capital.

While there are more glamorous matches to come, this is not an occasion to be missed, as the World Cup begins in earnest. Here are the viewing details for the World Cup curtain-raiser.


Date: Thursday, June 14

Time: 4 p.m. 



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TV Info: Fox Sports (U.S.), ITV (UK)

Live Stream: Fox Sports Go (U.S.), ITV Hub (UK)

Team News

Russia Likely XI: Igor Akinfeev; Alexander Samedov, Vladimir Granat, Sergey Ignashevich, Fedor Kudryashov, Yuri Zhirkov; Aleksandr Golovin, Daler Kuziaev, Roman Zobnin; Alexei Miranchuk, Fedor Smolov

Saudi Arabia Likely XI: Yasser Al Mosailem; Mohammed Al Breik, Omar Hawsawi, Osama Hawsawi, Yasser Al Shahrani; Abdullah Otayf, Taiseer Al Jassim; Fahad Al Muwallad, Yahya Al-Shehri, Salem Al Dawsari; Mohammed Al Sahlawi

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In World Cups gone by, the host nation has endured mixed fortunes, with the pressure of the home backing either emboldening or inhibiting the team.

In 2002, South Korea soared into the semi-finals as a co-host; while in 2010, South Africa were unable to get beyond the group stage. Four years ago, Brazil performed well up until the semi-finals, before they wilted under the weight of a fanatical nation.

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Russia will be given backing here, although it"s difficult to know quite what to expect from the hosts, as fitness issues and disputes have prevented a seamless buildup.

The big decision made by Cherchesov has been to not call up the experienced Igor Denisov after the pair previously fell out at Dynamo Moscow.

Journalist Artur Petrosyan believes the 34-year-old has been unlucky to miss out on selection for the World Cup:


Artur Petrosyan
arturpetrosyan

No Nainggolan in Belgium