There was no better way the FIFA World Cup 2018 could have kicked off with the host nation setting the bar so high of the quality of football that whole world would get to see from the grandest football event. With a score line that read 5-0 nil is the second biggest victory ever by a host in their opening match in a World Cup, after Italy vs USA way back in 1934 with a score of 7-1. Moreover, this is also Russia second biggest victory since their win against Hungary in 1986, when they were known as the Soviet Union.
The game kicked off with Russia being the favourites in their bright red and white shirt. In the opening minutes, both Saudi Arabia and Russia was busy finding their rhythm in the game and after waves and waves of attack in both ends, it was expected to be a tough fight since Saudi Arabia is three place higher on FIFA rankings than Russia. The former being the 67th team and the latter being 70th team, this game was the clash of the two weakest team in the World Cup if they are to be considered according to their FIFA rankings. And, what a kicker of a match it was from the 12th minute when Russia scored their first goal in by Yury Gazinsky. This goal was becoming a foundation of a great game when in the 22nd minute A. Dzagoev had to depart from the field because of a hamstring injury came into the ground Denis Cheryshev. The Green Falcons were still searching for their pattern and hoping to get an equalizer through Al Sahlawi but that didn’t pan out as they wanted it to be. While Russia started to gain momentum in the game and why it wouldn’t be after all Vladimir Putin, President of Russia was watching the game with FIFA President Gianni Infantino. The second goal came in the 43rd minute when Denis Cheryshev received the ball with his left leg and lofts it gently over two defenders to finish it off in style to the back of the Arabian net.
After two minutes of extra time, the first half of the match ended with a score that read Russia 2-0 Saudi Arabia. The Arabians walked into the tunnel hoping to turn around their fate but the Russians had other plans for them.
The second half kicked off with the Saudis are getting more aggressive physically when they couldn’t push their rivals off with aggressive game playing. Clumsy tackles were made by both the sides when Artem Dzyuba scored the third with a header in the 71st minute from a cross Kuziaev which bypassed Osama Hawsawi, the captain of Saudi Arabia.
Victory was written off in style by the host nation in the first 75 minutes but still there was a slightest hope for the Saudi Arabians at least to reduce the 3-0 goal margin but their poor passing and individual canvas of mistakes couldn’t coordinate a genuine attack. With a couple of yellow cards shown to both sides, this game was already humiliating enough for the Green Falcons.
But who would know that the added minutes after the 90 minutes mark will only add more humiliation to them in front of a foreign world. In the 91st minute Cheryshev scores the 4th goal with a beautiful loft with his left leg that followed a curve trajectory as it found the Arabian’s net. The 4th goal was the last nail in their coffin and that made the players angry and they deliberately tackled Aleksandr Golovin every time he was closing in. In the last minute, Golovin got a free kick just outside of the penalty box from where he scored a beautiful goal. Finally, the fruit he got he was working very hard for. With that goal, he ensured that Russians keep all the three points of the match with them.