The 2018 FIFA World Cup has officially begun and we’ve got you covered if you missed the opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia.
The host nation went into the match ranked 70th in the world, that is three positions lower than their opposition. However, the match did not go according to the FIFA world rankings as Russia put five past Saudi Arabia to claim the biggest win by a host nation in the opening game of a World Cup since 1934.
Russia thoroughly dominated the opening stanza of the match and it took just 12 minutes before they scored their first goal. Saudi Arabia failed to clear from a corner and the resulting cross into the box found an unmarked Yuri Gazinskiy who headed home. The goal was the first of the tournament and the first of Gazinskiy’s international career.
The host nation continued to dominate and just a few minutes before halftime, Russia doubled their advantage. It was a well worked passing move that started from the back and a through ball in behind the defence opened up Saudi Arabia. The Green Falcons didn’t recover in time and Denis Cheryshev was free on the left hand side to fire the ball into the roof of the net for his first ever international goal.
They say that being ahead 2-0 at halftime is the worst lead to have but that wasn’t the case in this match. Russia continued to press and Saudi Arabia continued to cough up possession. In the 69th minute the hosts brought on 6 foot 4 Artem Dzyuba. Just two minutes later the big man did exactly what he was brought on to do as his downwards header found the back of the net.
In added time, Denis Cheryshev scored what will surely be a contender for goal of the tournament. From just a yard inside the penalty box, Cheryshev beautifully curled the ball with the outside of his left foot into the top right corner of the goal.
Then just two minutes later, Aleksandr Golovin’s free kick was perfectly placed and he netted the game’s final goal to complete a 5-0 thrashing of Saudi Arabia.
Russia now sit comfortably at the top of Group A with Uruguay and Egypt playing later today.
Read more posts by Will Hopper