What a tremendous day for Russians! Team Russia has recorded a 5-0 victory over their Asian counterpart, Saudi Arabia, on the very first game of World Cup 2018! The hosts cruised past the Asian side and looked like they would score every time they went forward. On the other side, Team Saudi Arabia have a real task at hand if they are to get anywhere near the knock-out stages.
Both teams were the lowest ranked teams in the entire tournament, with Russia ranked even lower than their opponents Saudi Arabia.
Villareal forward Denis Cheryshev struck a goal on either side of the half and Aleksandr Golovin scored a sumptuous free-kick goal on the very last minute to seal the deal. It was Yuri Gazinskiy who opened the scoring with a strong header on the bottom corner after a brilliant cross from Golovin. 12 mins later, Russia’s Midfield master A. Dzagoev was forced off to injury – to be replaced by Cheryshev, who scored 2 mins before half-time to give the hosts a comfortable 2-0 lead at the break.
The visitors, however, looked comfortable in possession in the second half and were playing some good-fluid football. They had brilliant link-ups at times with Al Faraj making some good one-touch through balls and opening up space but none of their efforts were good enough. The visitors enjoyed more of the ball as they held 61% of the possession as Saudi Arabia failed to register a single shot on target in the entirety of the game, with their effort going just over the crossbar from Al Faraj.
Substitute A. Dzyuba scored a nice header, the second of the day for Russians – but what followed then completely shook the Russian supporters and lifted their spirits to the moon – Denis Cheryshev scored a wonderful volley to keepers left on to the bottom corner in what appears to be one of the goals of the tournament. This goal was the knockout blow for Saudi Arabia and the game was well over at this point. However, Aleksandr Golovin begged to disagree and drilled in a wonderful free-kick at 90+3 to finish the game in 5 stars for Russia and ensure not just the 3 points but a 5 goal difference in the first game.
The Asian side – Saudi Arabia has an uphill task to face if they have any hopes left of progressing and they face Uruguay next. Surely they will have to turn some things around. Whereas, the Russians are steering with confidence and will face Mo Salah’s Egypt without any fear and with all the support from the home crowd.
This game and the end result has just made this group exciting and we will see what happens next.