Published: Fri, June 15, 2018
Sport | By Floyd Cook

Rampant Russia pummel Saudi Arabia 5-0 in Fifa World Cup opener

Rampant Russia pummel Saudi Arabia 5-0 in Fifa World Cup opener

Artem Dzuyba netted a third before terrific late efforts from Cheryshev and Aleksandr Golovin wrapped up Russia's first win since October to launch their Group A campaign in style.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup officially kicked off on Thursday with host nation Russian Federation beating Saudi Arabia five goals to none.

The first game of the 2018 World Cup takes place later today and unfortunately it is probably not going to be a memorable one.

Substitute Denis Cheryshev soon scored the first of his two goals.

After each goal, the camera showed the replay of the moment, before turning to the three guests present at the stadium - FIFA President Giani Infantino, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Putin.

Cheryshev hammered in a fourth with the outside of his left in stoppage time and Golovin capped a magnificent performance by bending in a last-gasp free-kick.

He said: "Unlike fearless Russian protesters, I have the "protection" of a British passport, which means I have been treated more leniently than they are".

More news: How can we have a meeting without Russian Federation ?

The Russian leader, greeted by huge cheers ahead of the hosts' opening game against Saudi Arabia, spoke of showing the world a hospitable Russia and of sport overcoming differences.

Yet given Saudi Arabia's high turnover of coaches, including a previous mid-World Cup sacking, the Argentine-born Pizzi could well be on his way before he gets a chance to try and rectify the situation.

On his arrival at Moscow International Airport, the Crown Prince signed an autograph on a football given by the World Cup Mascot.

Before the match, pop star Robbie Williams performed "Let Me Entertain You" in an Opening Ceremony that involved 800 people and ramped up the atmosphere inside Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium. Morocco and Iran play the Group B opener later in the afternoon with the eagerly anticipated game between European champions Portugal and 2010 world champions Spain in the evening.

Saudi Arabia's route to the knockout round is much more hard. The Saudis will face Uruguay on June 20 and then Egypt on June 25.

The other Group A teams Uruguay and Egypt meet Friday in Yekaterinburg. And the Russian President's reaction to the goals galore was class apart.

On 23 minutes, Alan Dzagoev, the only Alan in the competition, was forced off with what looked like a hamstring injury, breaking the hearts of us Alans all over the world.

Like this: