World Cup

Russia Hit Saudi Arabia For Five In Dream Start To World Cup

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JUNE 14: Denis Cheryshev of Russia celebrates scoring a goal to make it 4-0 during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group A match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium on June 14, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Russia Hit Saudi Arabia For Five In Dream Start To World Cup

Russia got off to a dream start at the 2018 World Cup, destroying a sorry Saudi Arabia by five goals to nil in Moscow.

Denis Cheryshev bagged a brace with Yury Gazinsky, Artem Dzyub and Aleksandr Golovin adding the others.

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According to the locals, this is the worst Russia team in history, yet the pessimism of the nation’s press and fans looked to have little effect as ‘Sbornaya’ put in a ruthless performance in an astonishing opening game on the world’s biggest stage.

President Vladimir Putin addressed the 78,011 spectators and teams before the game and his speech seemed to have worked wonders as the hosts came flying out of the traps with attacks, repeatedly streaming down the right hand side via Aleksandr Samedov’s constant attacks down the right.

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After a succession of corners, the quickfire start paid off as Russia took the lead on 12 minutes to send the Luzhniki Stadium into raptures. After a corner was only half cleared, Golovin delivered a beauty of a cross and Gazinsky rose highest to head back across goal and into the far corner.

Manager Stanislav Cherichesov showed no emotion, but the early goal worked wonders for his team as Saudia Arabia sprung into flimsy attacks with Salem leaping at every given opportunity to drive at the Russian backline.

Saudi Arabia’s Argentine coach Juan Antonio Pizzi instructed his players to stream forward, leaving the game stretched and Russia took advantage as they doubled the lead right on half-time.

Golovin turned provider once again as he countered rapidly before sliding in Villarreal’s Cheryshev who took his time before smashing into the top corner.

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The second half picked up where the first one left off as Saudi Arabia looked sluggish and feeble in possession, defending Russia’s counters vulnerably, and Dzyub came on from the bench to score a header with his first touch following yet another tremendous delivery from Golovin. This time, the boss was punching the air and hugging his staff.

Cherichesov’s men added another two quickfire goals in injury-time, the first of which coming from the brilliant Cheryshev who curled home with the outside of his left foot. The 27-year-old started as a substitute, only coming on after Alan Dzagoev pulled up with a hamstring injury after only 24 minutes.

Aleksandr Golovin put the icing on the cake with the last kick of the game, whipping a free-kick into the bottom corner. The 22-year-old plays his club football at CSKA Moscow and has been reported to be on the wanted list of various Premier League clubs including Arsenal and Manchester United. This sensational performance won’t have done his chances of playing his football in England any harm.

Russia couldn’t have hoped for a better start and next up for the hosts is Egypt. It doesn’t get any easier for Saudi Arabia as they face the front two of Luis Suarez and Edison Cavani when they line-up against Uruguay in Rostov on Wednesday the 20th.

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@alexclapham

An Englishman that is a coach and analyst within the youth academy of a Spanish club whilst studying Sports Coaching. Obsessive over the tactical concepts of the European game, Alex regularly attends games in the La Liga, Bundesliga and Serie A.

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