That waiting feeling is almost over, with the first match of the Fifa World Cup 2018 just a day away. The opening game will see the hosts Russia face their Group A opponents Saudi Arabia in the capital city of Moscow.

It might not be the most glamourous of opening ties, but then once the ball gets rolling in the tournament, literally, it will, hopefully, pick up momentum and give us a tournament to savour.

Russia are in a group that also includes Uruguay and Egypt, and, let's be honest, this isn't the most mouth-watering of groups, even if there are some exciting individuals involved, like Luis Suarez and Mo Salah.

Getting off to a strong start, particularly when you are the hosts, is essential, and while Russia will start this match as the favourites, they will know Saudi Arabia aren't a team to be taken lightly.

The Asian side have made it to the World Cup plenty of times in the past, and in Juan Antonio Pizzi they have an experienced coach, albeit one who struggled while coaching Chile.

"We've studied them and will study more," the Russia forward Artem Dzyuba said. "I don't know the names, but I like the No.7, a good central midfielder, they've got technique in defence too.

"Saudi Arabia like to play on counter-attacks, they have fast, mobile guys. We already have a plan for the game and some options. Will it work, we'll see tomorrow."

Akinfeev Russia
Russia players are all business during a training sessionAlexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images

For Saudi Arabia, this match will be one to savour. It's not too often you get to play the opening game of a World Cup – so not getting overwhelmed and just enjoying the occasion should be their mantra.

"We've been very lucky because it's the first time that we're going to play in the opening match of a World Cup," Saudi Arabia's legendary striker Sami Al Jaber told Fifa's official website. "Millions of people will be watching to see how Saudi Arabia get on after such a long absence.

"It's a match I'd really love to play in. It won't be easy to take on Russia in Moscow, what with the president there and all the fans, but it'll be a unique occasion. That match could be a first step towards qualification for the second round or just an unforgettable memory."

With everyone expecting the hosts to come through in this match, Saudi Arabia have the advantage of lowered expectations. Nobody expects them to do well in this game, with most predicting the side from the Middle East to finish bottom of Group A. That might help them, because they might just be able to catch their opponents off guard, maybe take a little advantage of complacency from the other side.

However, complacency will be a word that would have been repeated time and again in the Russia camp, with everybody, no doubt, aware that at this level, if you take anything for granted, you will be punished.

With an entire nation expecting an emphatic win, the Russia players need to deliver, but will they?

Fifa World Cup 2018 Opening Match schedule: Russia vs Saudi Arabia.

Date: Thursday, 14 June, 2018.

Time: 6pm local time, 8.30pm IST, 4pm BST.

Venue: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow.

TV listings:

India: Sony Ten 2, Sony Ten 2 HD, Sony Ten 3 (Hindi), Sony Ten 3 HD (Hindi).


USA: Fox and Telemundo.

Russia: VGTRK.

Middle East: Bein Sports.