Preview - Group A: Saudi Arabia ready for the challenge
Moscow: The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia kicks off on Thursday with Asia represented by a historic five teams - Australia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Korea Republic, Japan and Saudi Arabia.
The Continent's top five teams all harbour hopes of advancing to the Knockout Stage and the-AFC.com takes a look at the challenges ahead. We kick off the series by analysing Group A, which will see Saudi Arabia playing Russia in the opening match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Thursday.
The Green Falcons, who will be appearing in the FIFA World Cup for the fifth time, are aiming to advance to the Knockout Stage for a second time - having featured in the Round of 16 in the 1994 edition.
It will be a challenge as besides hosts Russia, who will be desperate to extend their 2018 FIFA World Cup adventure for as long as possible, Saudi Arabia also have to contend with Uruguay and Egypt.
FIFA World Cup history: Fifth participation
FIFA World Cup best: Round of 16 (1994)
FIFA ranking: 67
Nickname: The Green Falcons
How they qualified: Finished second in Asian qualifying Group B behind Japan
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