Russia crush sorry Saudi Arabia 5-0 in World Cup opener

Historically, World Cup opening ceremonies have had, let's say, mixed reviews.

Having come into the game with no wins in seven matches, Russian Federation will now face Egypt and Uruguay without undue worries about goal difference, while Saudi Arabia manager Juan Antonio Pizzi will hope not to repeat the fate of Carlos Alberto Parreira, fired by the same team after two matches in France 98.

After a lavish opening ceremony and with President Vladimir Putin watching on, Yuri Gazinsky put Russian Federation ahead with a header off Alexander Golovin's cross in the 12th minute.

Two-goal hero Denis Cheryshev celebrates victory with teammates after Russia's 5-0 rout of Saudi Arabia.

It was a goal that prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to turn to the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, seated alongside Federation Internationale de Football Association chief Gianni Infantino, and shake his hand. He later chipped the ball in for Russia's fourth goal in stoppage time.

Artyom Dzyuba made an instant impact off the bench to make it 3-0 in the 71st with a header off Golovin's cross.

But if you want to track the tournament through the groups all the way to the final on July 15 you can download Express Sport's World Cup wall chart.


Saudi Arabia's midfielder Taisir Al-Jassim (L) vies with Russia's midfielder Aleksandr Golovin during the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup Group A football match between Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on June 14, 2018. FIFA's most recent rankings put the Russian team in 70th, making it the worst-ranked team in the tournament and also marking the team's lowest-ever ranking.

What's next? The other two sides in Group A - Egypt and Uruguay - open their campaigns when they meet at midnight tonight (NZT).

But with the five goals against the Saudis, a draw could be enough against either of its two remaining opponents. But that's not the case with Russian Federation, whose two remaining games are against group favorites Uruguay and Egypt. The Saudis will face Uruguay on June 20 and then Egypt on June 25.

Saudi Arabia has also published images of him chairing meetings in Riyadh, but all of those photos were undated and showed MbS in official settings behind closed doors.

Dzagoev pulled up with an injury midway through the first half and was substituted in the 24th minute.

Coach Juan Antonio Pizzi does not speak any Arabic but it will not take long for them to become aware of his Spanish description of their performance as shameful.

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