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Saudi Head Coach: Russian Team to Be Put Under 'Additional Pressure'

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Russian national team will experience a special kind of pressure during their World Cup opening game against Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi said on Wednesday.

Russia and Saudi Arabia will meet in the opening game of the World Cup at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Thursday.

"All the teams that came to Russia for the tournament — we are all under our own pressure, we all feel it, and it only mobilizes us. The first game puts additional pressure on the host nation's team, the Russian squad. Other teams are not likely to feel something like it," Pizzi told reporters.

​The coach added that Saudi Arabia has "the highest ambitions" and plan to beat Russia in the first game.

​A similar stance has been voiced by Saudi team's defender Omar Hawsawi earlier in the day, who said that Saudi Arabia was aiming to reach the World Cup final.

"We need to do all that we can to first reach the knockout stage of the World Cup. It is not something that is impossible for us. At this tournament, we want to reach the final and we will do everything possible to achieve this. I think that our efforts will be rewarded. We will make Saudi Arabia proud of us," Hawsawi told reporters.

The World Cup, kicking off on Thursday, will continue through July 15, with the games to be held in 11 cities across Russia.

football, 2018 FIFA World Cup, Russia, Saudi Arabia
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