World Cup 2018: countdown to opening ceremony and first game – live!

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Achilles is putting his faith in Russia, but who would he have gone for had he been able to read our experts’ guide to tonight’s teams? Here, Gosha Chernov and Greg Wilcox, part of the Guardian’s international football network, provide a comprehensive lowdown on the two sides:

Related: Russia World Cup 2018 team guide: tactics, key players and expert predictions

Related: Saudi Arabia World Cup 2018 team guide: tactics, key players and expert predictions

We’ve had Paul the Octopus, Fred the Ferret, Soothsayer Hog, Citta the Elephant, Flopsy the Kangaroo and Madame Shiva the Guinea Pig, to name but a few of the many psychic animals who specialise in predicating sporting results. Now we can add Achilles the Cat to the list. The feline, who resides in Saint Petersburg, is set to tread in some illustrious footsteps by making predictions for the tournament in Russia, although whether he can live up to the standards set by the ground-breaking Paul, who was famously accurate in his predictions at the 2010 World Cup, is yet to be seen. Achilles, who is deaf – allowing him to fully concentrate on his decision, apparently – has tucked into a bowl of food with the Russian flag on it, signalling a win for the host nation against Saudi Arabia tonight.

But if you prefer your predictions with a more human touch to them, here our very own soothsayers gaze into their crystal balls and deliver their verdicts:

Related: World Cup 2018: Guardian writers give their predictions for the tournament

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Written by Mike Hytner
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2018/jun/14/world-cup-2018-opening-ceremony-first-game-live under the title “World Cup 2018: countdown to opening ceremony and first game – live!”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.