Host Russia demolish hapless Saudi Arabia 5-0 on Thursday in World Cup opener to signify their intention to win the coveted trophy on home soil.
Russia wins Saudi Arabia 5-0 on Thursday
Russia kicked off the World Cup 2018 as the host nation with a 5-0 demolition of Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Russia.
Following an opening ceremony involving Robbie Williams’s epic musical performance, the two Group A teams got the football underway at a frenetic pace.
The watching world did not have to wait long for the opening goal as Yuri Gazinskiy headed home Aleksandr Golovin’s set-piece delivery after just 12 minutes.
Russia’s confidence only built as Saudi Arabia’s fell, banishing memories of their recent poor form, and even the injury-enforced withdrawal of Alan Dzagoev did not disrupt their momentum.
Dzageov’s replacement Denis Cheryshev double their advantage minutes before the break, making the most of a poor pass to wriggle past a defender and power home a fierce shot into the roof of the net.
Saudi Arabia improved after the break as the Russians retreated, enjoying spells of possession but were unable to test goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.
Artem Dzyuba sealed all three points with 20 minutes left to play, heading the ball past Abdullah Al-Mayoof as Golovin picked up his second assist of the day.
Cheryshev then put the icing on a commanding win with a stunning volley in injury time for this second and Russia’s fourth, while there was still time for Golovin to cap a fine display by netting a free kick from the edge of the area.
Russia face Egypt on Tuesday evening before Saudi Arabia face Uruguay on Wednesday afternoon.