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RUS vs SAU Match Result - FIFA WC 2018
5 - 0
Saudi Arabia
Y. Gazinskiy 12'
D. Cheryshev 43'
A. Dzyuba 71'
D. Cheryshev 90'+1'
A. Golovin 90'+4'
PEEP! PEEP! PEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP! That, then, is very much that. 

The Russians, playing some absolutely superb football, have demolished a hopeless Saudi team with almost contemptous ease -- playing in a manner that the whole world thought was beyond them, playing with charisma, confidence, and arrogance. Lovely to see. 

This has been some start to the greatest sporting spectacle on Planet Earth. Keep this up for a month, and WOOF! That's all from me, Anirudh Menon, thank you for reading!

Oh my days. That was sublime. Golovin curled an absolute peach of a ball, up, above and into the far corner of a battered Saudi goal. What a goal. What a start. 
93' Ten seconds to go and Golovin is brought down at the edge of the box by an utterly frustrated Taisir Al Jassam... Golovin stands over it...  
Zobnin lumped it forward, Dzyuba cushioned a header easily into Cheryshev's path -- and from just outside the box, he lashed in an absolutely splendid outside-of-the-boot half-volley into the far corner. What a sublime goal, that. 
90' Kuzyaev's corner is rubbish, doesn't clear the first man. THREE MINUTES TO BE ADDED ON
89' Russia have looked remarkably comfortable all day long. Vastly superior. Dzyuba leads another Russian counter - all pure power and muscle - and the move ends with Russia winning another corner. 
88' An sharp attack from the Saudi right leads to a scramble in the Russian box, but Kutepov's clearance sends Golovin on his way - all the way till Osama Al Hawsawi who simply shrugs him off the ball. 
86' OOOO! From a delightful Yuri Zhirkov freekick, Mohamed Aseri (who's come on in place of Al Sahlawi) hacks it clear just ahead of an interested looking Golovin
84' Can't fault him for going for it. After being set up by Golovin, Kuzyaev smashes the ball into orbit from well over thirty yards
82' Hattem Babhir looks to create something out of nothing but his left-footed hammer of a shot is straight into a wall of Russian bodies. The home side have been brilliant. 
79' Fernandes bullies Al Dawsari off the ball and sets Gazinskiy off on another counter -- but after a couple of neat touches from Golovin and Kuzyaev, the move breaks down when Denis Cheryshev is bullied off the ball by Mohammed AL Burayk. Perfect symmetry, that. 
78' The last time an opening match ended 3-0 was in 1958. Good portents for the month ahead -- I pray
77' ... it's dinked up to Golovin, but the midfielder can't keep his header on target. 
76' The Russians win a freekick in dangerous-looking position. Artem Dzyba, inside the box, wants it knocked into him ...
74' The Saudis throw on Hattan Babhir for Yehya Al Shehri in a bid to rescue something from this game. 

73' Salem Al Dawsari has had enough of all the passing about, faffing about and tries to curl one in from thirty yards. It whistles close to the far post, but Akinfeev looked uninterested. 
LOVELY, LOVELY GOAL! Golovin lifted in a superb little dink into the box, Dzyuba toward over the two Hawsaris and absolutely thulped a header in. That was his first touch of the game. What a touch. 
69' The Russians throw on the human locomotive that is Artem Dzyuba in place of the impressive Fedor Smolov
68' Some lovely Russian passing leads to a spell of concentrated pressure from the Russians but a lovely turn-and-crossfield from Al Dawsari almost allows Al Jassim to find Al Muwallad, but Kutepov gets in the way
67' OH! GOALMOUTH ACTION! Zobnin bursts into the box and lashes on at Maiouf, and the goalkeeper can't keep the ball in his grasp; he can, though, smother it just before Smolov can reach it. 
66' Gazinskiy does superbly to lead Al Sahlawi on a tour of Moscow, the Kremlin, the Red Square, the works... before playing a lovely ball out to Cheyshev and Russia build another smooth looking passing move
65' OH! Smolov misses Cheryshev's run and holds onto the ball too long as Russia charge forward on their 4,587th counter, before finding him with a chip pass into the box; this time the ex-Real Madrid man's header loops harmlessly into the hands of Al Maiouf
63'  Saudi's most exciting talent - Fahad Al Muwallad - is brought on for Abdul Otayf. Meanwhile, Alexander Samedov is replaced by the younger legs of Mikhail Kuziaev
62' Smolov's really having fun out there - he sets off another Russian counter with a sublime backheel through Al Shahrani's legs... but the Saudis hold firm and the Russians have to recycle possession. 
61' Stanislav Cherchesov must be so pleased with his sides performance today. They've been interesting going forward and solid as an oak at the back. Just what you want. 
59' Al Burayk lazily gives the ball away to Zobnin- all the Russian had to do was wait for the Saudi to take a heavy touch near him - but the move breaks down when Gazinskiy's ball into Smolov's feet doesn't reach its intended recipient. 
58' Al Dawsari swings in a freekick from an interesting looking area into the box -- but Salman Al Faraj heads it woefully over from just outside the six-yard box
56' OH MY! WHY DID HE NOT GO FOR IT! Al Jassam swung in an absolute peach of a ball -- after nearly a minute's worth of possession -- and at the near post Al Sahlawi merely dangles a tame leg at it... it eludes him, and Al Dawsari who'd come steaming into the centre. If Al Sahlawi had flung himself at it, this could well be 2-1
55' Zobnin runs into an Osama-shaped brick wall as he looks to charge down the middle, and once again the Saudi's enjoy a neat little spell of possession. 
54' I'll be honest, the Saudis don't look like scoring. At all. The Russians are another story altogether. Golovin releases Cheryshev down the left, but the goalscorer's cross is easily cut out by Osama Al Hawsawi
53' Fernades and Samedov try to flick their way down the Russian right flank, but the latter's touch deserts him at the second time of asking and the ball peters away harmlessly for a Saudi throw-in
51' WOOOF! Samedov gets onto the ball after some increasingly pleasing one-touch football from the Russian midfield - but instead of slipping in Mario Fernandes down the right, he opts for glory and lashes one into the Kremlin. 
49' The Saudis are linking up rather well in the middle of the park. Pizzi's possession style coming to the fore; but it's when they look for a killer ball into the final third that it all unravels. Al Shehri's horrible ball is cut out by Golovin and he sends Smolov away -- but Osama al Hawsawi gets an important foot in and the ball rockets away for a corner, dangerously close to the unguarded Saudi near post
48' Al Shahrani is bullied into giving the ball away by Smolov - it's a Russian throw in, but Smolov's heavy touch immediately hands it back to the Saudis. 
47' They kick it around, with the ball not going anyplace material 
46' PEEP! WE ARE OFF AGAIN! The Russians start the way they ended the first, firmly on the front foot

The players are out again, and the Russians are all set to kick off
PEEP! PEEP! THAT'S HALFTIME! And the hosts have a 2-0 advantage heading into the break. 

The Saudi defence, apart from Osama Al Hawsawi, have been all over the place, the Russian attack has been electric -- in a way that we haven't seen for decades -- and Denis Cheryshev's just scored an absolute wonder goal. WOOF. 

Now, this is how you start a World Cup. 
45' + 2' Even less happens. 
45' + 1' Nothing happens. 
45' Two minutes to be added on. This is some football from the hosts. Lovely to see them smash the critics' previews and analysis into absolute smithereens. 
WHAT A GOAL! OH MY GOOD LORD, WHAT. A. GOAL. Golovin raced onto a weak Al Shahrani pass to Omar, got to it ahead of the centre-back, played it to Smolov. The big centre-forward took a touch and played a horribly under-strength pass to Cheryshev -- and with Al Burayk and Osama bearing down on him, the chance seemed gone. Denis Cheryshev, though, took the most sublime of touches -- sending the two Saudis charging into space, say hello to Sputnik lads, before steadying himself and absolutely leathering it into the roof of the net.  
42' OH MY! Cheryshev sells the otherwise unbeatable Osama with a lovely touch; but he oversells it by trying to flick it around the proud Saudi captain again... and runs out of space
41' A slight lull in the action as both teams prepare for one final push before half-time. 
39' WOOF! Golovin turning on the style now... a seal dribble sees his go nowhere, but he does waltz straight into our hearts. 'tis so lovely these Russians are pulling off these tricks and flicks on the biggest stage of them all. They're living a Guy Ritchie Nike commercial. 
38' Al Shahrani kills a steepler of a goalkick dead with a velvet-cushioned touch that would have made Zizou blush... he then moves it on to Salman Al Faraj, whose square ball is completely, and inexplicably, missed by Al Sahlawi
37' Cheryshev tries to take on Mohammed Al Burayk but the Saudi right-back is having none of it. On the sidelines, Jose Antonio Pizzi looks desperately annoyed with his charges. 
35' WOOOOOOF! OH SMOLOV! The Russian forward sends Al Shahrani to fetch a shot of Vodka for him with the loveliest of pirouettes in the middle of the field. He then plays in Golovin - its 2 v 2 for the Russians... Golovin pulls out a couple of stepovers and just as he is about to shoot, Osama Al Hawsawi puts in another astonishingly good tackle. Smashing football all round, this. 
33' Omar Al Hawsawi, who's looked a touch under-cooked gives away a cheap throw-in. Russia take it quickly, and soon Smolov's trying to elastico his way past Osama Al Hawsawi inside the penalty box. Osama, unlike Omar, is on his A game. 
32' The Saudis and the Russians spend a minute exchanging possession. It's a touch scrappy, to say the least. 
31' OOO! Zobnin, who's caught this game by the scruff of the neck, attempts to catch out Saudi with a 60-yard crossfield whip to Fernandes, but it's just got a touch too much oomph to it. 
30' Jassam gets smashed into by Zhirkov and the Saudis now have a freekick in a dangerous-looking position... the left foot of Salman Al Faraj chips it in lazily, the noggin' of Yasir Al Shahrani thumps it into row Z 
29' The refs adjudge Smolov to have strayed offside as he makes a nice little angled run to make it to Cheryshev's through ball... and they adjudge correctly
Alan Dzagoev's summer comes to an abrupt, tragic, halt
27' ... they won't from this move at least. Cheryshev bullies Jassam off the ball and motors away, but is soon caught up with by Al Breik and in combination with Osama Al Hawsawi, they see the lone ranger off quite easily
26' The tempo's suddenly dropped, everyone in the stadium so bluntly aware that this could be it for Dzagoev's (and with him, Russia's) World Cup. If the Saudis score now... 
24' After a lot of deliberation, the doctors have made it clear Dzagoev can't continue. He looks absolutely heartbroken. Obviously. Denis Cheryshev -- product of Real Madrid's Castilla academy -- sprints on in his stead. 
22' The corner's rubbish, and Russia counter... but OH! NO! Alan Dzagoev -- who has been so good today -- pulls up with what looks a hamstring injury. This is so, so, sad. 
21' OH! OH! OH! Again! A lovely ball from Al Jassam sees Al Sahlawi almost nicks in ahead of Kutepov; but the Russian does well to recover and head it inches ahead of the Saudi man's chest
20' OH! OH! OH! That was mighty close, once again. Zhirkov's lung bursting run sees Golovin play it square to the middle of the box, where Dzagoev and Smolov get in each other's way! Saudi use the confusion to counter... 
18' Golovin intercepts a loose Al Shahrani  pass and sets Zobnin off on the counter -- but the latter's square ball to Smolov leads a lot to be desired. 
17' Al Sahlawi almost catches out the grand ol' man, Ignashevich, as the Russians knock it around at the back for a bit... but he's too strong for the Saudi striker, and clears the ball with all the calm of a man who's spent nearly a decade more on earth than the guy trying to pressure him. 
16' That was Gazinskiy's first ever international goal. What a stage to grab it at, eh. The Russians are playing with a swagger that hasn't been seen for decades. It's absolutely brilliant to watch. 
15' The Luzhniki's bursting at the seams with happiness, and their lads on the pitch are playing rather well now. Pretty damn well, in fact. Dzagoev turns delightfully away from Omar Al Hawsawi, slips in Gazinskiy down the right, who cuts it back - and Smolov's shot is smothered! the ball balloons into a relieved Muaiouf's gloves. 
That was superb! Dzagoev's initial corner was headed away well at the Saudi near post, but the ball rebounded back to him and the little playmaker jinked a delightful ball into the far post where Yuri Gazinskiy rose virtually unopposed and absolutely thumped one in. 
12' GOOOOOOOOOOAL! Yuri Gazinskiy scores the opening goal of the 2018 World Cup 
11' This leads to Russia screaming forward and winning a corner. From which... 
10' From the Russian corner, some brilliant defending from Osama Al Hawsawi sees Al Dawsari scream forward, put his head up, spot Otayf on the wing and cream a lovely cross-field out toward him. Almost lovely, that, is. Golovin's done superbly to track Otayf back and his tackle sees him win a throw-in
9' Al Jassam tries to dribble his way past Russia's high press - INSIDE his own box, the eedjit - Zhirkov steals the ball off him and sees a tame shot dribble away for a corner
7' OH! Osama Al Hawsawi! WHAT A BLOCK! A lovely move led by Golovin's twinkle-toed feet and Alan Dzagoev's footballing brain sees Fernandes set up Smolov for a shot inside he Saudi box - it looks dead on target but then the veteran Saudi skipper throws himself at it in the heroic manner, and the score's still 0-0. Just about. 
5' OH MY! This game has exploded into life. After the Saudis spend half-a-minute tiki-taka ing the Russians into a dizzy, a lazy backpass almost catches leeper Al Muaiouf out - some twenty yards OUTSIDE his own area - but the Saudi keeps his nerve as Smolov charges it down and does superbly to clear it. 
4' Mario Fernandes has just given a fifty yard back-pass to his captain Igor Akinfeev. The only way is up
3' Russia win the first corner of the World Cup as an attempted Zhirkov lofted-through-ball gets cut off. The set piece is rubbish. 
2' Smolov receives the ball at feet inside the box, and the decibel levels inside the Luzhniki rise even further, but the Saudis see them off; captain Osama Hawsawi hacking it out in the no-nonsense manner
1' The Saudis start brightly, moving through Al Dawsari down the left, but the Russians shield their end -- and slowly move it up the field

Saudi Arabia kick off in their traditional all-green, from left to right as you'd see it on the idiot box. The Russians, clad in their storied red and white will be aiming to move the little round thing the other way
Totems have been exchanged, hands have been shaken, photographs have been taken. A coin is about to tossed. Football is about to commence. THE WORLD CUP IS ABOUT TO BEGIN. 

The players are out, the national anthems have rung out -- the Russian anthem sang vociferously by a good 50,000 plus people! 
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin has spoken, and spoken well. Loud applause resounds through the cavernous Luzhniki... Gianni Infantino is getting cheers from the  cheap seats by addressing them in Russian -- and Arabic -- well played, you. Well played.
Vladimir Putin's been joined in the VVIP boxes by the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bolivia, North Korea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Moldova, Paraguay, Panama, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Tajikstan, and Uzbekistan.

More importantly for us, the two sets of players are in the tunnel, shaking hands and bearing the biggest grins on their faces. What a day for them, eh
It's beautiful, though, the ceremony -- 32 pairs of performers in costumes in the colours of the 32 nations of this World cup are dancing to Williams' and Garifullina's singing. 

Now, Ronaldo's come, dummied a kick - and asked the both of them to move on with their lives. But Robbie's having none of that... he's rapping/singing now. It's all colour, all flamboyance, all over-the-top
It's the World Cup. I love it!
An absolutely angelic-looking Russian singer has waltzed in an elaborate chariot and stunned me into silence. Seriously, though, get off the pitch -- there's football to be played here. 

Edit: The angel in white is Russian soprano Aida Garifullina -- for research purposes
After a touch of CGI that would have made the worst in Telugu cinema cringe, including a kid dribbling the ball across a river -- Ronaldo has walked in, handed a mike to Robbie Williams and the singing has started!
The Opening Ceremony has commenced! With a ball dropped from space. Of course. 
The top-scorer for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Al Sahlawi -- who banged in 16 goals in qualification, no one in the world had more --   starts! 

Meanwhile, 38-year-old Sergei Ignashevich, tempted out of retirement by the federation after a spate of injuries in the back-line starts in an attempt to shackle Al Sahlawi

Russia XI (4-4-2): Igor Akinfeev (GK); Mario Fernandes, Ilya Kutepov, Sergey Ignashevich, Yuri Zhirkov; Yuri Gazinskiy, Roman Zobnin, Alan Dzagoev, Aleksandr Samedov, Aleksandr Golovin; Fedor Smolov

Subs: Lunev, Semenov, Cheryshev, Kuzyaev, Kudryashov, Granat, Aleksey Miranchuk, Anton Miranchuk, Erokhin, Dzyuba, Smolnikov, Gabulov.

Saudi Arabia XI (4-4-2): Abdullah Al-Mayoof (GK); Mohammed Al-Burayk, Osama Hawsawi, Omar Hawaswi Yasser Al-Shahrani; Abdullah Otayf, Salman Al Faraj; Salem Al Dawsari, Tasir Al Jassam; Yahya Al Shehri, Mohammad Al Sahlawi

Subs: Al-Mosailem, Al-Harbi, Al Bulaihi, Bahbir, Al-Khaibri, Kanno, Al-Khaibari, Al-Moqahwi, Al-Muwallad, Asiri, Motaz Hawsawi, Al-Owais.

Referee: Pitana Nestor
Iker Casillas, swanky in his bespoke suit, has just walked out with a briefcase and unveiled the single greatest sporting trophy on planet Earth. Here's a little pre-match reading from your's truly -- What makes the World Cup the greatest event on the planet-- the suits on TV are talking, some of it's interesting, the vast majority is mind-numbingly dull
Russia vs Saudi Arabia - Kickoff time, Venue, TV Schedule, Live Streaming details

Kickoff time: 6:00 PM Local Time | 8.30 PM IST | 4:00 PM BST
Venue: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
TV Schedule: Ten 2, Ten 2 HD in India, BBC and ITV in the UK, SuperSport in Nigeria, Fox in the US
Live Stream: Sonyliv - but why disturb the folks when you can just follow it here!

Russia vs Saudi Arabia - Team News

Stanislav Cherchesov will have to make do without his first-choice centre-back pairing of Georgy Dzhikiya and Viktor Vasin - but both have been out for more than 4 months and the Russian manager's had enough time to settle on his replacements. Aleksander Kokorin, another old fox expected to have taken centre stage this summer, has been out since March with a knee ligament injury

One of Saudi's best playmakers Nawaf Al Abed of Al Hilal is out with a long-term foot problem, but their main attacking triumvirate of Al Dawsari, Al Shehri, and Al Muwallad

Russia vs Saudi Arabia - Probable Lineups

Russia Predicted XI (4-4-2):
Igor Akinfeev (GK); Mario Fernandes, Fedor Kudryashov, Sergey Ignashevich, Yuri Zhirkov; Roman Zobnin, Daler Kuzyaev, Alan Dzagoev, Aleksandr Samedov, Aleksandr Golovin; Fedor Smolov

Saudi Arabia Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Abdullah Al-Mayoof (GK); Mohammed Al-Burayk, Osama Hawsawi, Omar Hawaswi Yasser Al-Shahrani; Abdullah Ateef, Salman Al Faraj; Salem Al Dawsari, Tasir Al Jassam, Yahya Al Shehri; Fahad Al Muwallad

Russia vs Saudi Arabia - Form Guide (all competitions - most recent first)

Russia: DLLLLL

It couldn't be worse if they tried -- ok, it could be but don't get pedantic now -- Russia have been playing some of the worst football they've ever played in their long, illustrious history. Seriously, the World Cup couldn't have come at a worse time.

Most recent game: 05/06/18: Russia 1-1 Turkey

Saudi Arabia: LLLWWL

Their last three friendlies were Germany, Peru, Italy - so it's not as bad as it looks for the Kingdom, and they'll still expect a positive result against Russia, and maybe even Egypt.

Russia vs Saudi Arabia - Head to Head

Games Played:  1
Russia Wins: 0
Saudi Arabia Wins: 1 (a 4-2 victory in a 1993 friendly
Draws: That is but elementary [math], my dear Watson. Really, really, elementary

Russia vs Saudi Arabia - Prediction

Russia 2 - 3 Saudi Arabia  

The hosts have too much riding on this not to put their best foot forward, but in the end the Saudis may just have too much firepower for the creaky ol' defence to stop​
A. Golovin
Taisir Al Jassim
D. Cheryshev
assist: A. Dzyuba
A. Golovin
Mohanad Aseri
Mohammad Al Sahlawi
Hattan Bahebri
Yehya Al Shehri
A. Dzyuba
assist: A. Golovin
A. Dzyuba
F. Smolov
Fahad Al Muwallad
Abdullah Otayf
D. Kuzyaev
A. Samedov
D. Cheryshev
assist: R. Zobnin
D. Cheryshev
A. Dzagoev
Y. Gazinskiy
assist: A. Golovin
Saudi Arabia (4-1-4-1)
Juan Antonio Pizzi Torroja (Manager)
I. Akinfeev
Y. Zhirkov
S. Ignashevich
I. Kutepov
M. Fernandes
R. Zobnin
Y. Gazinskiy
A. Golovin
A. Dzagoev
A. Samedov
F. Smolov
Abdullah Al Maiouf
Yasir Al Shahrani
Omar Hawsawi
Osama Hawsawi
Mohammed Al Burayk
Abdullah Otayf
Salem Al Dawsari
Salman Al Faraj
Taisir Al Jassim
Yehya Al Shehri
Mohammad Al Sahlawi
Saudi Arabia (4-1-4-1)
Juan Antonio Pizzi Torroja (Manager)
Russia Subs
D. Cheryshev
A. Dzyuba
A. Erokhin
V. Gabulov
V. Granat
F. Kudryashov
D. Kuzyaev
A. Lunev
Aleksey Miranchuk
Anton Miranchuk
A. Semenov
I. Smolnikov
Saudi Arabia Subs
Mansour Al Harbi
Abdulmalek Al Khaibri
Hussain Al Mogahwi
Yasser Al Mosailem
Fahad Al Muwallad
Mohammed Al-Owais
Ali Albulayhi
Abdullah Alkhaibari
Mohanad Aseri
Hattan Bahebri
Motaz Hawsawi
Mohammed Kanoo
14 SHOTS 6
22 FOULS 10
Pos Club P W D L GD Pts
Group A
1 Uruguay 3 3 0 0 5 9
2 Russia 3 2 0 1 4 6
3 Saudi Arabia 3 1 0 2 -5 3
4 Egypt 3 0 0 3 -4 0
Group B
1 Spain 3 1 2 0 1 5
2 Portugal 3 1 2 0 1 5
3 Iran 3 1 1 1 0 4
4 Morocco 3 0 1 2 -2 1
Group C
1 France 3 2 1 0 2 7
2 Denmark 3 1 2 0 1 5
3 Peru 3 1 0 2 0 3
4 Australia 3 0 1 2 -3 1
Group D
1 Croatia 3 3 0 0 6 9
2 Argentina 3 1 1 1 -2 4
3 Nigeria 3 1 0 2 -1 3
4 Iceland 3 0 1 2 -3 1
Group E
1 Brazil 3 2 1 0 4 7
2 Switzerland 3 1 2 0 1 5
3 Serbia 3 1 0 2 -2 3
4 Costa Rica 3 0 1 2 -3 1
Group F
1 Sweden 3 2 0 1 3 6
2 Mexico 3 2 0 1 -1 6
3 Korea Republic 3 1 0 2 0 3
4 Germany 3 1 0 2 -2 3
Group G
1 Belgium 3 3 0 0 7 9
2 England 3 2 0 1 5 6
3 Tunisia 3 1 0 2 -3 3
4 Panama 3 0 0 3 -9 0
Group H
1 Colombia 3 2 0 1 3 6
2 Japan 3 1 1 1 0 4
3 Senegal 3 1 1 1 0 4
4 Poland 3 1 0 2 -3 3
PMatches Played
WMatches Won
DMatches Drawn
LMatches Lost
GDGoal Difference
PtsTotal Points
Tournament FIFA WC 2018 - Week 1
Stadium Stadion Luzhniki
Match time Thu, 14 Jun 2018, 08:30 PM
Updated: Jun 14, 2018 22:27 PM | Published: Jun 14, 2018 20:38 PM