FIFA 2018: Russia hammers S Arabia 5-0 in tournament opener

RSTV Bureau

FIFA-Russia-vs-Saudi-1Getting off to a perfect start, hosts Russia beat Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the opening match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Thursday. Denis Cheryshev struck twice for Russia as the World Cup hosts thumped Saudi Arabia in their first World Cup win since 2002.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup officially kicked off last night with a dazzling opening ceremony at the Luzh-niki Stadium in Moscow city.

Giving the initial lead, Russian midfielder Yury Gazin-sky scored in the 12 minute of the match. Just before half time substitute Denis Chery-shev scored for the team again.

Russia started the second half with a solid lead of two goals and soon substitute Artem Dzyuba added a third goal to the Russian tally. He scored within 89 seconds after his introduction as the replacement.

As the match moved into injury time Denis Cheryshev smashed another goal taking a tally to 4 goals followed by a free kick by Aleksandr Golovin finishing the game in style for Russia with five goals.

Moscow : Russia's Artyom Dzyuba scores his side's third goal during the group A match between Russia and Saudi Arabia which opens the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, June 14, 2018. AP/PTI

Moscow : Russia’s Artyom Dzyuba scores his side’s third goal during the group A match between Russia and Saudi Arabia which opens the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, June 14, 2018. AP/PTI

Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov said that President Vladimir Putin called to congratulate the team and asked him to keep the team playing the way they did in their adrenaline-fuelled performance for an 80,000-capacity Luzhniki crowd which included Putin and the Saudi crown prince.

“It was the head of state who called me with congratulations and he asked me to share his thanks with the team for the performance that they put on and he asked me to keep playing like this,” Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov said.

The Saudis, ranked three places above Russia at 67 in the world rankings, played some nice, tight football at times, but were never able to match the Russian hosts for energy or intent.

“Well I’m not sure if it was because it was the first game, or because we were playing against the hosts, had an impact on the result or not. But for sure we were not doing what we wanted to do, the opposing team did not have to make a huge effort to win by a landslide,” Saudi coach Juan Antonio Pizzi said.