Russia don’t boast a roster of standout players, so will be having to rely on the emerging talents of Aleksandr Golovin, who is their most dangerous attacking player and aged just 22. Aleksandr Kokorin misses out on the tournament due to an injury, and it is a blow for Russia as he would have been the first-choice striker.
Ex-Chelsea full-back Zhirkov is nearing the end of his international career, and playing the finals in his home country would be the perfect send-off.
Potential Russia XI: Akinfeev; Zhirkov, Kutepov, Ignashevich, Fernandes; Golovin, Anton Miranchuk, Zobnin, Samedov; Dzagoev, Smolov
Saudi Arabia’s three key men lie in Al-Abed, Al-Muwall and Al-Shehri. Al-Abed netted five times in the qualification stages and remains to be Saudi Arabia’s top-scorer en route to the finals, while Al-Mulwall netted the goal that secured his nation’s participation in Russia.
Al-Shehri provides the most experience for his team, having been in the side since 2009 and is only 27 years of age.
Potential Saudi Arabia XI: Al-Muaiouf, Al-Burayk, Al-Boleahi, Hawsawi, Al-Harbi, Al-Faraj, Ali-Khaibari, Kanno, Al-Jassim, Al-Shehri, Al-Sahlawi