Russia storm to record 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia

Angelo Anderson
June 15, 2018

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Group B is underway at 3am when Morocco, fresh from missing out on hosting rights to the 2026 tournament and appearing at a World Cup for the first time since 1998, meet Iran, who are looking to progress to the knockout rounds for the first time ever.

Villain Russian President Vladimir Putin opened the tournament by welcoming fans to "open, hospitable and friendly" Russia.

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

The match took place in front of Russia President Vladimir Putin, FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the VIP box. He later chipped the ball in for Russia's fourth goal in stoppage time.

Artem Dzyuba was also on target a minute after coming on as a 70th-minute substitute and Aleksandr Golovin completed a memorable day by smashing in a free kick with the last action of the game.

The forward was soon replaced by Dzyuba, who struck nearly immediately by heading another Golovin cross beyond a helpless Muaiouf in the 71st minute.

The 2018 World Cup kicked off on Thursday with the opening match between Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia.

For Saudi Arabia it was a return to the global showpiece for the first time in 12 years, with their only previous finals wins at the 1994 World Cup. The visitors failed to get a single shot on taget in the contest between the two lowest-ranked teams at the tournament.

But the confidence that this win will generate can ensure that Russian Federation will go into next Tuesday's clash with Egypt in Saint Petersburg believing they can secure the victory that will confirm a place in the second round.

But with the five goals against the Saudis, a draw could be enough against either of its two remaining opponents.

Saudi Arabia's route to the knockout round is much more hard.

Egypt and Uruguay are due to play the second Group A match in Yekaterinburg on Friday. The Saudis will face Uruguay on June 20 and then Egypt on June 25.

Russian Federation coach Stanislav Cherchesov insisted that Thursday's opening festivities would wake the country up: "Half of Russian Federation will only realise that the World Cup is happening when the whistle blows for kick-off".

But while Juan Antonio Pizzi's team are rank outsiders at Russian Federation 2018, they could have done more to exploit the nerves and tension of the hosts inside the Luzhniki.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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