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Russia 5-0, Denis Cheryshev double, Alexsandr Golovin freekick, Saudi Arabia loses
Image Courtesy: The Independent

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FIFA World Cup 2018: Russia proved their prowess as a host against Saudi Arabia

Russia made their goal of reaching knockouts look realistic after 5-0 victory over Saudi Arabia

Russia wasn’t expected to go far in the tournament considering their FIFA ranking and recent form, but the host nation proved their prowess as a host against Saudi Arabia in the opening fixture. Sbornaya dismantle Three Falcons’ defense as they registered 5-0 victory against them. FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 got the kick-off needed to make the tournament entertaining going forward.

The host nation started in style. Yuri Gazinsky opened the scoring for Sbornaya in the 12th minute, and then the goal flooded in Three Falcons’ goal post. Russia did suffer an early blow as their star man Alan Dzagoev suffered an early hamstring injury which may sideline him for the whole of the tournament, but his substitute Denis Cheryshev had a great day coming off the bench.

Cheryshev started with a double scoring in 43rd and 91st minute of the game. In between his both goals Artem Dzyuba also enjoyed his day with a goal, before Alexsandr Golovin rounded off the scoring with a perfectly executed free-kick.

Russia made Saudi Arabia pay for their defensive error. Three Falcons didn’t look up to the mark in attacking formation except for the early exchanges they had in opening minutes of the game. Their star forward and qualifying top scorer Mohammad Al-Sahlawi looks pale in attack and lesser of touches on the ball.

It was a great evening at the Luzniki Stadium to host the FIFA World Cup opening ceremony. The presence of Saudi King’s son Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud aka MbS and Vladimir Putin in the VIP box alongside FIFA’s president Gianni Infantino was stealing the limelight, but soon Russia found their footing on the ground and fought for their pride.

The host presents a warning for the Group A favourite Uruguay and Egypt as they marched past Saudi Arabia. Sbornaya will be more determined to make out to the knockout after their thumping victory over Saudi Arabia, and Uruguay and Egypt must be ready for the host surprises.

The Achilles Cat first prediction of the tournament turned out to be true. Russia registered a thumping victory against Saudi Arabia to lighten up the tournament. If someone would have talked about Russia reaching to the knockout before the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 kicked-off, you must have thought that he is joking but now it looks realistic. A great start for the host… Dasvidaniya.


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