It was a perfect start to the World Cup campaign of the host nation Russia as they rallied past a weak Saudi Arabia side 5-0 in the opening match of the tournament.
Setting the Scene:
The opening ceremony of the World Cup started with songs of singer Robin WIlliams, who sang some of his hits and entertained the crowd. Then Vladimir Putin, the Russian president gave a speech followed by Gianni Infantino, the FIFA President. After this the football began.
It was a near perfect start for the Russians as they were the dominating side early in the stages, and got the result after only nine minutes when Yury Gazinskiy rose highest and headed past the Saudi keeper to give them the lead. One of the Russian stars Alan Dzagoev had to go off with a hamstring problem, but his substitute Cheryshev doubled the host advantage at the brink of the first half.
Artem Dzyuba headed to ensure the points are heading in Russia’s way, but the hosts had still some punches to make. Cheryshev doubled his tally with an excellent left foot volley to make it 4-0. At the fourth minute of stoppage time, it was Golovin’s turn to get his name on the score sheet whose free kick ended up in the back of the net.
The score line may suggest it was a thrashing, which it was at the latter stage, but the Asian side looked dangerous in patches. Lack of conviction in front of goal hurt them and it will be daunting task for the Asian side to come back in the tournament as they have Egypt and Uruguay to face in the coming games.
Russia Manager Stanislav Cherchesov: “Sometimes it’s a source of joy for the fans, sometimes less so. However, we are honest in what we are doing. I was relaxed yesterday and I’m relaxed today because I know my players. It is a pleasure to work with them.”
Saudi Arabia coach Pizzi: “It was a tough game and we suffered a big and unexpected defeat.”