Published: Fri, June 15, 2018
Arts&Culture | By Antoinette Montgomery

World Cup odds and matchups for opening week of action

World Cup odds and matchups for opening week of action

On Saturday, Iceland makes their highly anticipated World Cup debut as they take on South American powerhouse Argentina as heavy +950 underdogs, while France looks to open the group stage on a strong note as they battle Australia as heavy -425 favourites.

Russian Federation welcomed the world to the World Cup on Thursday as fans streamed in, the hosts savoured a 5-0 victory and President Vladimir Putin's government derided Western efforts to isolate him. "We saw that we are on the right track but we should forget this game and concentrate on the next one", Cherchesov said after ending a seven-game winless run in emphatic style.

Saudi Arabia also play Uruguay and Egypt in Group A.

Two-goal hero Denis Cheryshev celebrates victory with teammates after Russia's 5-0 rout of Saudi Arabia.

Villarreal winger Cheryshev took the ball on inside the box, taking two sliding Saudi Arabia players out of the game with his first touch before getting the ball out of his feet and firing high into the net.

Every World Cup needs the host nation to energise the population, and Russian Federation have ticked that box with this result.

Saudi Arabia had 60 percent of possession and played almost twice as many passes as their hosts, but were still blown away on opening day.

Artyom Dzyuba made an instant impact off the bench to make it 3-0 in the 71st with a header off Golovin's cross.

He then escorted Putin off the stage and the conference - which announced North America would host the 2026 World Cup - stopped for an unscheduled coffee break.

Russia's fans, forced to suffer years of poor performances in friendlies that left their team an embarrassing 70th in the world rankings will not care about the quality of the opponents.

The positives for Russian Federation, however, were the performances of Golovin and the defensive displays of Ilya Kutepov and the veteran centre-half Sergei Ignashevich.

Don't miss a moment of the World Cup!

Saudi Arabia's route to the knockout round is much more hard. It does help that the team's home base, Saransk, is one of the most centralized in the country.

England, drawn in Group G, will play their first game of the tournament against Tunisia in Volgograd on Monday.

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