EME Outlook - - Sport -

RUS­SIA The weight of ex­pec­ta­tion lin­ger­ing over any host na­tion, in any sport­ing dis­ci­pline, is tan­gi­ble, but it’s fair to sug­gest that this pres­sure has been ramped up a notch when it comes to Rus­sia. As a proud sport­ing na­tion, any­thing short of knock­out round foot­ball would be deemed a dis­as­ter; which is a con­cern given the lack of form and qual­ity shown across the four years lead­ing into this tour­na­ment. The group is favourable, but their prospects aren’t. PRE­DIC­TION: Group Stages SAUDI ARA­BIA While no coun­try sim­ply turns up for the ex­pe­ri­ence, Saudi Ara­bia could be for­given for ac­cept­ing that their achieve­ment was in mak­ing it to the tour­na­ment. Any­thing else would be a se­ri­ous sur­prise, but an evenly matched group and a tantalising role in the World Cup’s open­ing match against a vul­ner­a­ble Rus­sia may be the cat­a­lyst for a Saudi shock.


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