2018 World Cup Opening Ceremony Commences

FIFA World Cup 2018 Kicks Off In Russia
People walk past a football billboard displaying (From L) Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo, Argentina’s forward Lionel Messi, Germany’s midfielder Mesut Ozil, Brazil’s striker Neymar and Super Eagles midfielder Alex Iwobi./ AFP


Finally, the 2018 edition of the FIFA World Cup is here. Welcome to our daily updates of the world’s biggest football competition.

Thursday, June 14

The host country, Russia will kick-start the competition by taking on Saudi Arabia by 4:00 pm Nigerian time.

Starting line-up for Russia:

Igor Akinfeev (capt), Mario Fernandes, Ilya Kupetov, Sergey Ignashevich, Iury Gazinsky, Alan Dzagoev, Roman Zobnin, Aleksandr Golovin, Yury Zhirkov, Alexander Samedov, Fedor Smolov

Coach: Stanislav Cherchesov (RUS)

Saudi Arabia

Abdullah Al-Muaiouf, Osama Hawsawi (capt), Omar Hawsawi, Mohammed Al-Burayk, Yasser Al-Shahrani, Salman Al-Faraj, Yahia Al-Shehri, Abdullah Otayf, Taiseer Al-Jassam, Salem Al-Dawsari, Mohammed Al-Sahlawi

Coach: Juan Antonio Pizzi (ESP)

Referee: Nestor Pitana (ARG)

Russia 2018: Full Group Stage Fixtures






Nigeria’s Pre-World Cup Matches

On the three occasions, the Super Eagles won their opening matches in the World Cup in 1994, 1998, 2014, and progressed to the Round of 16.

During their preparation ahead of the competition, Nigeria played a series of friendly matches during which they won two, drew one, and lost three.

Nigeria’s midfielder Ogenyi Onazi (2R) shoots but fails to score past Serbia’s defender Matija Nastasic (L) during the International friendly football match between Nigeria and Serbia at the Hive stadium in Barnet, north London on March 27, 2018.


Sweet victories over Argentina and Poland were followed by defeat by Serbia, a draw with DR Congo and losses to England and the Czech Republic.

The outcomes of some of the friendly, especially against England and Czech Republic, have become worrisome for Nigerians and other concerned individuals.

England’s midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek (L) vies with Nigeria’s midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo (C) and Nigeria’s defender Bryan Idowu (R) during the International friendly football match between England and Nigeria at Wembley stadium in London on June 2, 2018. Ian KINGTON / AFP


Former Eagles Technical Adviser Jo Bonfrere warned the players to avoid playing for individual glory if they must achieve the desired results at the competition.

However, Super Eagles Media Officer, Toyin Ibitoye, urged Nigerians to pray for the team’s success and continue to support them.

Photo: AFP

Check back for more updates…

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