Home » Blog » Russia Kick Off The World Cup in Style

Russia Kick Off The World Cup in Style

Russia got the 2018 World Cup off to a flying start with a flourishing 5 – 0 win over Saudi Arabia.

Although the score ultimately reflected the quality gap between the teams, a Russian win was far from assured before kickoff.

Saudi Arabia manager Juan Antonio Pizzi spoke before the match about how their aim was to impose themselves on Russia.

Russia’s form couldn’t have been poorer in the build up to hosting the World Cup. The team hadn’t won a game since last October. Playing in front of their home nation, and under the gaze of President Vladimir Putin, Russia were under serious pressure to perform.

The players did so, at first. Saudi Arabia started brightly, playing with urgency and putting together some intricate passing combinations.

However, the final ball was lacking for the Saudis, and after an initial attacking flurry from them, Russia took control.


Want $250 to bet on the 2018 World Cup?

Sign up now!


The physicality of the Russia players was too much for Saudi Arabia to handle. As well as that, Russia’s superior tactical nous and experience allowed them to take advantage of Saudi mistakes.

The first goal came in the 12th minute. Saudi Arabia failed to deal with a corner, and Roman Zobnin crossed the ball back into the box. Yury Gazinksy buried the header for the first goal of the World Cup, and Russia never looked back.


Read: Kylian Mbappe Plays Down Injury Fears


Russia doubled the lead just before half time. Young star Aleksandr Golovin drove into the box and rolled the ball to Denis Cheryshev. Two Saudi defenders went to ground as Cheryshev took a deft touch around them and smashed the ball into the top corner.

At 71 minutes, Russia scored their third. Golovin crossed from the right, and Artem Dzyuba buried the header to make it 3 – 0. The second half had took time to come to life until that goal. It signalled the end of Saudi resistance and Russia bombarded them from then on.

In the first minute of stoppage time, Denis Cheryshev scored what will be remembered as one of the goals of the tournament.

Receiving the ball to the left of the box, he unleashed a vicious shot from the outside of his left foot, leaving the keeper with no chance.

Aleksandr Golovin scored a brilliant free kick in the last action of the game to round out an eye-catching performance.

The Russians will be delighted to start the tournament so well. However, sterner tests await in the form of Egypt and Uruguay, who play in the first game today.


  • 100%