Russian Federation thrash Saudi Arabia to launch World Cup in style

Saturday, 16 Jun, 2018

Russian Federation winger Denis Cheryshev has had a career littered with mishaps but he thrust himself into the limelight with two spectacular goals from the bench in the host nation's rampant 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia in Thursday's World Cup opener.

The result equalled the best-ever in a World Cup opening game - Brazil beat Mexico 5-0 in Geneva in 1954 - as Russian Federation took full advantage of a Saudi team who's defending fell painfully short of World Cup standard, while their attack was non-existent.

"Egypt is better than Saudi Arabia, and Uruguay is better than Egypt", the Manchester United manager said in reference to the next Group A opponents Russian Federation will face.

Putin and Infantino smiled and shrugged as they sat next to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

"We are not getting ahead of ourselves".

Cheryshev completed a brace with a chip shot in the added time before Golovin turned into a scorer right at the death, closing their rousing debut with a curling free kick.

British pop star has grabbed the headlines once again-but this time not for his lively performance at the Federation Internationale de Football Association 2018 opening ceremony in Moscow but for his middle finger gesture during the show.

Saudi Arabia's next Group A encounter is against Uruguay in Rostov on June 20.

The team entered the tournament without tasting victory in more than eight months.

Friday sees Egypt face off against Uruguay (with Mohamed Salah only fit enough for the bench), Iran play Morocco and Spain take on Portugal with their last-minute manager switch still looming over them.

Golovin kept a cleared corner alive and delivered a floated cross to the back post, with Gazinskiy exploiting slack Saudi marking to plant a firm header past Abdullah Al-Mayoof.

Russia's players were significantly taller and heavier than the Saudis, a help when challenging for the ball and when the penalty area was crowded.

Russia's celebrations were tempered by an injury to influential midfielder Alan Dzagoev.

Provider Golovin, the youngest player in Russia's squad, turned poacher as he curled home a free-kick in injury time for Russia's coup de grace.

"The opposing team really didn't have to make a huge effort to win this game", said Pizzi.

Both sides looked confident at the beginning of the opening game of the global football championship, however hosts Russian Federation, backed by the thunderous roar of supporters at the home stadium, opened the score into the 15th minute of the match.