Host nation Russia kicked off the 2018 World Cup with an emphatic 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia in Moscow. Yuri Gazinskiy (17’), Denis Cheryshev (43’, 90+1’), Artem Dzyuba (71’) and Alexsandr Golovin scored the goals in the sold-out Lushniki stadium. It could not have been a better start to their home World Cup. The result means that Russia go into first place in Group A for now, with Uruguay and Egypt set to face off tomorrow in the group's other match.
Russia came out of the blocks firing on all cylinders and were quickly rewarded in the 12th minute. Aleksandr Golovin crossed the ball in from the left wing to the back post, where Yuri Gazinsky headed it in to score the first goal of the tournament. Saudi Arabia, who most recently lost to Germany 2-1, started to play a bit better after conceding the first goal and had more possession. They still remained harmless in front of goal, however.
And the hosts took full advantage, as they added to their lead. Denis Cheryshev, who was subbed on for the injured Alan Dyagoev, and took only 60 seconds to get on the scoresheet. Roman Zobnin squared the ball to Cheryshev, who then left two defenders in his wake before firing the ball spectacularly just under the bar and into the back of the net.
Russia held back as the second half began, before head coach Stanislav Cherchesov made his second apparent stroke of genius. He brought on Dzyuba, who proceeded to score shortly after he was brought on after another good ball in from Golovin (71’).
It went from bad to worse for Saudi Arabia in added time, as Cheryshev and Golovin added one goal apiece to make the score 5-0.