Russian Federation open World Cup 2018 with thumping win over Saudi Arabia

Annette Crawford
June 14, 2018

Russia's first-ever FIFA World Cup will get underway at 6:00 p.m. local time (15:00 GMT) later on Thursday with the match between the hosts and Saudi Arabia at Moscow's 81,000-seater Luzhniki Stadium.

Follow live updates from the game below.

And the hosts struck after 12 minutes when they forced another corner which was half-cleared and, when Roman Zobnin crossed, Gazinsky headed home the tournament's opening goal.

Saudi Arabia were left exposed at the back as defenders failed to deal with arial ball which led to the opening goal and then a quick counter attack by Russian Federation gave the Saudi defense no chance. Hosts Russia will take on and Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest sporting festival explodes into life in Moscow. Dimitry Cherchesov's side have given themselves an excellent chance of qualifying from Group A, thanks to goals from Yuri Gazinskiy, Denis Cheryshev with two, Artem Dzyuba and Aleksandr Golovin. But with 43 minutes gone they did just that, substitute Cheryshev superbly getting away from a challenge and thumping his finish high into the net.

Saudi Arabia were continuing to give possession away easily and, from another concession dangerously close to their own area, Golovin fired over.

FIFA World Cup 2018 action will start on Thursday with the two weakest teams in the tournament.

This week Putin had said Russian Federation - going into the tournament ranked 70th in the world, three places below Saudi Arabia - would "fight until the end", but, in this match at least, a poor Saudi Arabia proved to be obliging opponents as they gave the hosts freedom in possession and, crucially, the opposition box.

Online: Stream live on Fox Sports Go.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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