By Anis Bazza
19th June 2018
The two sides opening games couldn’t have contrasted more as they prepare to face each other for the first time at a World Cup. Saudi Arabia coach Juan Antonio Pizzi is expected to make a host of changes from the team that suffered a humiliating 5-0 defeat to Russia at the World Cup opener.
Luis Suarez will make it a century of appearances against Saudi Arabia and will hope to catch up with his striking rivals in the race for the Golden Boot.
The Barcelona forward missed a host of chances against Egypt so Saudi Arabia could provide ample opportunity to remediate that. Suarez is 33/1 to finish as top goalscorer at the World Cup.
Uruguay and Saudi Arabia will meet at the Rostov Arena in Rostov-on-Don and the match should be routine for a sturdy and compact Uruguay side. Uruguay have lost just one of their last nine World Cup group games (won five, drew three), winning five of their last six.
Midfielder Lucas Torreira, who is widely expected to join Arsenal, could start after coming on against Egypt whilst Edinson Cavani and Suarez will try to pad their goal-scoring stats. Cavani to score first was 2/1 but now bets at 11/4.
Saudi Arabia’s failure to register a shot on target against Russia meant they had now failed to score in eight of their last 10 World Cup games. Vice president of the Saudi Football Federation, Nawaf Al-Tamayat, publicly scolded his players’ “confusion and distractedness” describing the loss as being beyond ”an honourable level.”
Anis grew up supporting Manchester City but found joy and solace across Europe’s major football leagues. Increasingly passionate about NBA, he is interested in and has written extensively about different aspects of sport across the years, previously working at Sky Sports News and Sport360 newspaper in Dubai. He studied Journalism at University but spent a large portion of his academic years building City Watch instead - the largest independent Manchester City Twitter account and website.