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World Cup 2018: Russia Throttles Saudi Arabia in Opener

Even at halftime, the Saudis regarded damaged, and it didn’t get well. Dzyuba scored on any other header, likewise simply after coming into the sport, then Cheryshev added his 2d in the 90th minute.

If that overdue purpose appeared unfair to the Saudis, it were given worse a second later when Goliovin added No. Five on a loose kick in damage time.

It used to be the easiest get started for the host country, even though its final team video games, towards Egypt and Uruguay, will probably be a lot sterner demanding situations.

As for Saudi Arabia, if it manages even a 2-Zero loss, say, in its final video games, it’ll appear to be an outstanding accomplishment.


Russian avid gamers rejoice after Aleksandr Golovin’s purpose in additional time.

Patrik Stollarz/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

95’: One More, Just for Fun

This is simply unhappy now. Russia will get a loose kick and Aleksandr Golovin sails it into the web. Five-Zero.

Andrew Das: That used to be simply piling on on the finish through Russia, nevertheless it’s arduous guilty them: the Saudis have been simply woefully overmatched. Russia will positive have its chest out this night, and that’s a just right factor for a event that may have suffered a little bit bit through a awful effort from the house crew. Egypt and Uruguay needs to be stiffer assessments, and the Russians should face each with out Alan Dzagoev. But there are worse issues. They might be the Saudis at this time, dealing with those self same two warring parties in the times to return.

91’: Goal. Denis Cheryshev Scores Again

Denis Cheryshev were given his 2d purpose, turning and firing into the highest of the web. Sometimes a Four-Zero ranking flatters the winners. Not this time. Saudi Arabia used to be horrible.

71’: Goal. Russia Makes it Three-Zero

Told you. So simple, really easy. With the ball pinging round dangerously, Aleksandr Golovin had quite a few time to ship in an excellent cross to the pinnacle of Artem Dzyuba. He used to be marked through only one guy and muscled his manner transparent for the straightforward header. Like Cheryshev with the second one purpose, Dzyuba used to be a replace.

Andrew Das: Rory Smith and I have been simply chatting about how large Dzyuba seems a number of the Saudis — like a dad who stepped right into a U16 recreation as a result of they have been brief a striker. And then he simply beaten his marker there and identical to that Russia’s up Three-Zero.

70’: Russia Will Probably Score Again Soon

A shot through Zobin is spilled badly through Saudi keeper Al-Mayouf. That provides Smolov a great opportunity, which Al Mayouf has to dive on. Russia isn’t urgent with urgency, however Saudi Arabia could also be giving them a 3rd purpose quickly anyway.

56’: Al Sahlawi Scares Russia

Surprise, an opportunity for Saudi Arabia. Mohammad Al Sahlawi sprung loose and were given a shot off, nevertheless it went large. Al Sahlawi is Saudi Arabia’s nominal striker, however till this second we now have observed little of him.

The enthusiasts of each groups glance subdued in a apparently an identical means. For the Saudis, it’s the lengthy stare of the defeated. For the Russians, a glance of a few pride but in addition the data that some distance sterner demanding situations lie forward.

52’: Another Close Call for Russia

After a chain of touches in which Russia time and again out-skills the Saudis, Aleksandr Samedov skied a shot over the web.

45’: Hosts Not Good at Sharing

As the second one part starts, imagine this: Host nations have by no means misplaced a gap recreation on the World Cup. All time, they’re 15-Zero-6. Russia is taking a look just right to stay that streak going.

Halftime: Russia Leads Comfortably

A dominating efficiency through Russia, which with ease leads through 2-Zero at halftime. Remember when Saudi Arabia used to be 40-to-1 to win the sport? Now they’re 250-1. Even a draw is an actual long-shot right here.

The subsequent time anyone tries to turn out a football level to you through mentioning ownership stats, hit them up with this. It’s Saudi Arabia that has ruled ownership in this recreation, 61 p.c to 39 p.c. That’s as a result of Russia, with a lead, simply sat again and frivolously watched the Saudis cross it round, most commonly ineffectively and most commonly in their very own part

Andrew Das: In many ways in which part may just now not have long past higher for Russia: two early objectives, little fightback from the Saudis, and Golovin regarded terrific. But the lack of Dzagoev to what used to be obviously a hamstring damage severe sufficient to drop him to the turf in mid-stride, is a major blow. “A hamstring’s three weeks,” Rory Smith simply stated to me. And Russia doesn’t have 3 weeks left right here. We’ve most likely observed the final of Dzagoev, which is simply too unhealthy for him, and his nation.


Denis Cheryshev places Russia forward, 2-Zero, in the primary part.

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

43’: GOAL. Russia leads 2-Zero.

It used to be certain to occur. Russia complex into Saudi area with numbers, Denis Cheryshev were given through the protection and had the keeper at his mercy. What a 30 minutes for Cheryshev. Sitting at the bench, unexpectedly thrust into the sport through an damage, and now at the World Cup scoreboard.

Andrew Das: Two mins previous, Cheryshev attempted that very same cutback transfer he used to attain the purpose, however he appeared shocked that it had labored and flubbed the danger. This time he let two Saudis slide through and buried his shot in the highest left nook from a slim perspective.

36’: Saudi Arabia Exposed on the Back

Saudi Arabia, like maximum underdogs, most likely anticipated to counterattack in this recreation. But the early Russia purpose took away that chance. Saudi Arabia has been compelled to be competitive, and it’s been Russia that has counterattacked. As a outcome, Saudi Arabia has regarded very uncovered on the again.

30’: Saudi Arabia Finally Gets a Shot — and Misses

After a theatrical fall, Saudi Arabia used to be awarded a loose kick from simply outdoor the field. For the primary time, Russia enthusiasts will have to sit down up a little bit straighter. Salman Al Faraj did organize to get it on a teammate’s head, however the ensuing shot is nowhere close to purpose.

24’: Russia Loses Alan Dzagoev

Alan Dzagoev, who used to be part of a variety of Russia’s strikes, pulls up with an obvious hamstring damage. Russia used to be compelled into an early substitution: Denis Cheryshev checked in.

Rory Smith: That’s a vital second for Russia: now not in this recreation, essentially, however for the rustic’s hopes of qualifying from the crowd degree and proceeding its World Cup into the latter phases (a unusual factor to mention 20 mins into the primary recreation, however pay attention me out). Alan Dzagoev is — at the side of Aleksandr Golovin — one among perhaps simplest two in actuality ingenious avid gamers Russia has. He’s at all times struggled with damage, however that is horrible timing for him, in fact, and for his nation. Losing him to what regarded an terrible lot like a popped hamstring won’t have an effect on the end result lately all that a lot, however he would were vital for Russia towards Egypt and Uruguay, too. There’s now a possibility he received’t be to be had for both.

20’: Saudis Struggling for Control

The Saudis in any case were given a run of ownership in combination, nevertheless it used to be through their defenders deep in their very own territory, whilst Russia sat again, understandably, with a 1-Zero lead. Think a comeback is in the offing? Saudi Arabia is 40-1 to win this fit at this time.

15’: Russia Keeps Pressing

Almost two for Russia. Saudi keeper Al-Mayouf made a determined lunge and fisted a ball away. 2-Zero seems much more most probably than 1-1 at this time.


Yuri Kazinsky celebrates after scoring Russia’s first purpose.

Victor Caivano/Associated Press

12’: GOAL! Russia Scores First World Cup Goal

Russia is forward! Saudi avid gamers scampered again in some disarray (once more). The ball pinged across the field, Roman Zobnin crossed proper into the risk zone and Yury Gazinsky hammered it house along with his head. So simple for Russia.

Andrew Das: In the uncommon moments when the Saudis have had the ball, they’ve proven they’re beautiful sharp with that one-touch passing in small areas that comes from years of rondos, that football coaching recreation the place a circle of avid gamers attempt to play keepaway from a few warring parties in the center.

But rondos are an effort to stay the ball throughout the circle. They by no means in reality move any place. And neither are the Saudis.

7’: Russia Plays Aggressor

Dzagoev and Zobnin were getting numerous area down the wings for Russia. So some distance they have got now not been ready to get it into the field successfully, however Russia is without a doubt at the entrance foot thus far.

Rory Smith: Hopefully, that purpose settles Russia down – and the early indicators are that there’s now slightly of self belief concerning the host – however the tempo of the beginning remains prime.

Three’: Saudi Arabia in Trouble Early

The first nook of the sport went to Russia, and Saudi Arabia’s defensive anchor Osama Hawsawi used to be compelled to transparent it off the road. A perilous state of affairs for Saudi Arabia in an instant.

Zero’: Saudi Arabia in Green, Russia in Red

We’re beneath manner in Moscow! Saudi Arabia kicks off dressed in inexperienced, whilst Russia is in purple.

Vladimir Putin Opens the World Cup

Vladimir Putin gave a speech in Russian welcoming the gang and opening up the World Cup. There is at all times a surge of pleasure around the globe for the primary recreation of the Cup, even though this is tempered slightly this 12 months for the reason that fit occurs to be between the 67th and 70th ranked groups. As same old, the brand new World Cup brings a brand new FIFA ball: This 12 months’s is white with grey pixilated hexagons.

Opening Ceremony: Robbie Williams Takes the Stage

The crowd in Moscow used to be handled to a gap rite that includes English popstar Robbie Williams, Russian soprano Aida Garifullina and the standard array of gaudily-dressed extras forming letters and patterns at the box. They cruised via a few of Williams’s biggest hits, together with “Let Me Entertain You” and “Angels.” Ronaldo, the previous Brazilian big name used to be additionally available, however didn’t get a chance to sing.

Here Is the Russia Lineup

1 Akinfeev

2 Fernandes

Three Kutepov

Four Ignashevich

eight Gazinskii

nine Dzagoev

10 Smolov

11 Zobnin

17 Golovin

18 Zhirkov

19 Samedov

• A large number of other people have been anticipating Russia’s midfield twins, Aleksei and Anton Miranchuk, to be a key a part of the crew. But they aren’t in the introduced beginning lineup. Russia has the luxurious of a quite deep midfield, through some distance its very best space. As for the Saudi crew power … it’s now not transparent there’s one.

Here Is the Saudi Arabia Lineup

1 Abdullah

Three Osama

Five Omar

6 Alburayk

7 Salman

eight Yahia

10 Alsahlawi

13 Yasser

14 Otayf

17 Taiseer

18 Salem

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