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Group A: Hosts to face Arabic test

Egypt's forward Mohamed Salah (L) celebrates with Egypt's midfielder Mahmoud Hassan after scoring
© AFP

Teams
RUSSIA | SAUDI ARABIA | EGYPT | URUGUAY

Key Game
Russia-Saudi Arabia (14 June 2018, Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow)
The World Cup Opening Match is an event that football fans the world over eagerly tune-in to, marking the beginning of another exciting global finals. At Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, hosts Russia will take on Saudi Arabia in the eagerly-awaited curtain-raiser on 14 June 2018. The Saudis will be the first Asian team to take part in an Opening Match at the global finals.

What you need to know

  • Russia 2018 will mark Egypt’s first World Cup since Italy 1990. Star man Mohamed Salah bagged the goal which sealed qualification to the global finals in dramatic fashion, as he converted a 94th-minute penalty against Congo to get the party started in Alexandria.
  • Saudi Arabia’s Mohammad Al-Sahlawi netted 16 goals on the road to Russia. The 30-year-old frontman finished 2018 World Cup qualifying as joint-top scorer, along with Poland’s Robert Lewandowski and UAE’s Ahmed Khalil.
  • Uruguay are two-time champions of the World Cup. La Celeste were inaugural winners of the tournament in 1930, before winning it a second time, at Brazil 1950.

The stat
45 – The age that Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary will be when the Pharaohs take to the pitch at Russia 2018. Should he feature, El-Hadary would surpass Faryd Mondragon’s record as the World Cup’s oldest player. The Colombian goalkeeper set the current record when he appeared at Brazil 2014 at 43 years and three days.