Russian Federation thump Saudi Arabia in World Cup opener
- Author: Rosalie Stanley Jun 17, 2018,
Jun 17, 2018, 0:54
In a World Cup first, the video assistant referee system was available for the match between the tournament's lowest-ranked teams, though it wasn't used for an official review. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
Coach Juan Antonio Pizzi does not speak any Arabic but it will not take long for them to become aware of his Spanish description of their performance as shameful. Find out by following our live matchcast.
However, Russia substitute Artem Dzyuba made it 3-0 to the hosts 20 minutes before time barely a minute after coming on with a fine header inside the box.
Igor Akinfeev was a virtual spectator in the Russian goal and while the away side did start to see more of the ball after the restart, with Golovin and Cheryshev running riot, only one team would be going home with three points on the night.
Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation are the two lowest ranked teams at the World Cup, but the Asian team are placed above their European counterparts in the rankings and were favourites to win the opener.
"We brought them the best technical support, a team of the highest level and we paid them for three years".
"I have grown up loving football, my brothers and father love it too", she said.
The match was evenly contested for most of the first half as both teams adopted a cautious approach to build-up play. The talismanic midfielder left the pitch after 24 minutes into the opener, and it seems like he's ruled out for the rest of the World Cup.
The Gulf country finished second in the Group B of AFC qualifications, edging out Australia on account of a better goal difference.
The second came after Cheryshev was given two attempts at his finish, getting it right the second time and rifling the ball in at the near post.
The 27-year-old's career has been blighted by a succession of injuries, resulting in Fabio Capello overlooking him for the 2014 World Cup. They have thoroughly embraced the underdog tag and battled their way to Russian Federation and will look to make a positive impression on the world stage once again after 12 years.
With the five goals against the Saudis, a draw could be enough against either of its two remaining opponents. With a two-goal deficit, Saudi Arabia tried to push forward in the second 45 minutes, but they managed to create just one decent opportunity. The world champions nearly continued their winless run and Saudi Arabia were denied a point which they could've gotten had Mats Hummels' shirt pull on Al-Sahlawi been called by the referee for a penalty.
"We have to take all the criticisms and turn it into something positive", Cherchesov told reporters. But the header from Gazinskiy was the sole shot on target for Russian Federation, which managed to spur Russian Federation on to dominate the half.