The seemingly never-ending wait finally comes to a halt, and the 2018 World Cup kicks off on Thursday, as hosts Russia take on Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
In the United States, the game is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. ET and will be broadcast nationally on Fox (English broadcast) and Telemundo (Spanish broadcast). If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can watch Russia vs Saudi Arabia–and every other World Cup game–live on your computer, phone or streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
In addition to a Netflix-like on-demand streaming library, Hulu also offers a bundle of live TV channels, including Fox (live in most markets), Fox Sports 1 and Telemundo (Spanish). You can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV” right here, and you can then watch every World Cup game live on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
If you can’t watch the game live, “Hulu with Live TV” also comes with 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage (with the ability to upgrade to “Enhanced Cloud DVR,” which gives you 200 hours of DVR space and the ability to fast forward through commercials), allowing you to watch any game after it airs.
Fox (live in most markets), Fox Sports 1, Telemundo (Spanish) and NBC Universo (Spanish) are all included in the “Fubo Premier” bundle, which has a channel package that is largely tailored towards international soccer fans. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial right here, and you can then watch any World Cup game live on your computer via the FuboTV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the FuboTV app.
If you can’t watch the game live, FuboTV comes with 30 hours of Cloud DVR (with the ability to upgrade to 500 hours), as well as a “72-Hour Lookback” feature, which allows you to watch any World Cup game up to three days after it airs even if you forgot to record it.
Fox (live in select markets) and Fox Sports 1 are both included in the “Sling Blue” package, while NBC Universo (but not Telemundo) is in the “Best of Spanish TV” add-on. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial of both, and you can then watch any World Cup game live on your computer via the Sling TV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app.
If you can’t watch a game live, you can get 50 hours of cloud DVR storage as an additional add-on.
In the history of the World Cup, South Africa (2010) is the only host to fail to make it out of the group stage. If Russia are going to avoid a similar fate, they will almost assuredly need to come away from Thursday’s opener with three points. Uruguay, led by the attacking duo of Edinson Cavani and Luis Saurez, is certainly the most talented team in Group A, and Egypt can dangerous as long as Ballon d’Or candidate Mohamed Salah is healthy, so the Russians will need to take advantage against arguably the worst team in the tournament.
Russia has its problems in the lead up to the World Cup. They were bounced from the group stage at both the 2016 Euros and the 2017 Confederations Cup, with the latter disappointment taking place on home soil. They haven’t won since October 2017, and in their last two friendlies leading up to the World Cup, they lost to Austria and drew at home against Turkey. Overall, they’re 70th in the FIFA rankings, which is worst among all teams in the tournament.
But even so, Russia is expected to get a positive result against Saudi Arabia, who own the second-worst FIFA ranking (67th) in the tournament and haven’t won a World Cup game since 1994. The Russians have a veteran in goal in Igor Akinfeev, they have an intriguing attacking trio in Alan Dzagoev, Aleksandr Golovin and Fedor Smolov, and they have the significant advantage of being at home.
Russia, per OddsShark, is a -245 favorite to tally three points Thursday, and any other result would ultimately be a surprise.