Russian Federation thrashes Saudi Arabia in World Cup opener

Robbie Williams
Robbie Williams will be on of a number of artists to perform at the opening ceremony Credit PA

17 June, 2018

"We had a certain (game) plan seeing them (the Saudi Arabian team) keeping the ball, while we are pressing and catching them on counter-offensives", Dzyuba told journalists after the match.

The opening goal came soon after, as Saudi Arabia failed to clear a corner and a curling cross in from the left by Golovin picked out an unmarked Gazinsky to head low into the far corner.

The 2018 World Cup opened today with an extravagant ceremony at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

"Even if we lose, we'll bring home political, economical and negotiating potential, " the crown prince said.

Stats: Dzyuba's goal (89 seconds), is the quickest goal by a substitute at a World Cup tournament since Marcin Zewlakow scored for Poland vs United States of America in 2002. Behind the 11 years of troubled construction of infrastructure, political scandals and sports transformations of all the participants of the world Cup.

In Group B action, African hopefuls Morocco will take on a talented Iran team in the second match of the day.

Given the result on the scoreboard, the second half proved much quieter than the first and for a long time, the audience had to miss in expectation of sharpness and highlights. Add to that two assists, involvement in a third goal and a fine one of his own, it is impossible to look elsewhere. However victory over a very strong Greeks and Algerians, as well as the notorious draw with Ukraine, showed that Saudi Arabia is able to cling to the result with mediocre teams, which is exactly true, and Russian Federation.

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The hosts could hardly have dreamt of a better start to their home tournament, putting the Saudis to the sword with the last two goals coming in added time.

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The Green Falcons don't have any World Cup experience, but does boast some veterans including 34-year-old defender Osama Hawsawi, who has registered 135 caps and will be a key figure in slowing down Smolov.

The No. 70-ranked Russians got an automatic spot as tournament host and the Saudis, at No. 67, have the lowest ranking of the 31 countries which secured places via qualifying.

But there was a major blow for the hosts mid-way through the half as star playmaker Dzagoev limped off with a hamstring injury, to be replaced by Cheryshev.

In the early stages, Russian pressure allowed the hosts to dominate possession, and on 12 minutes they took the lead.

Cheryshev was excellent too, running down the left flank with a real sense of objective, as Russian Federation put in a performance that gives them a renewed sense of goal as they try to get out of a group that will provide much sterner tests against Egypt and Uruguay.

"I could never have dreamed of anything like this". Russian Federation on the other hand, have done a good job of keeping their hopes of progressing alive.

Russia's scoring problems are obvious, with just two goals netted in this year's four friendlies and no more than one in any of their last six matches at major tournaments. "I couldn't think", he said. At the end of the first half, he doubled the score when Golovin on speed, won the ball from the sleeping protector of Saudi Arabia, gave the Piglet the Zobnina, the left - Cheryshev. "As for our strategy, we must change", Pizzi closed.

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