Life&Culture

Saudi crown prince arrives in Russian Federation for World Cup opener against Russian Federation

Saudi crown prince arrives in Russian Federation for World Cup opener against Russian Federation

The 2018 World Cup kicked off on Thursday with Russian Federation beating Saudi Arabia, 5-0, in the opening match.

Yuri Gazinsky initially put Russian Federation ahead with a header from Alexander Golovin's cross when the Saudis failed to clear a corner in the 12th minute.

After Russia scored the first goal of the tournament, president Vladimir Putin gave Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman a shrug and a handshake that was captured by cameras.

Artyom Dzyuba made an instant impact off the bench to make it 3-0 in the 71st with a header off Golovin's cross.

But after Iury Gazinsky scored the first goal of this World Cup to give Russian Federation the lead in the 12th minute, a home win was never in doubt, and the feelgood factor this result will now generate is crucial for the tournament as a whole.

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The fact that two of the world's best players, Portuguese centre-forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentine playmaker Lionel Messi have not yet won the cup for their respective countries - despite the duo dominating the attractive game virtually unopposed - has captured the minds of spectators from around the world. Even if Trump wins re-election, his presidency would end before the 2026 World Cup.

The crowd were then treated to a fabulous finale as Cheryshev cleverly steered home the fourth with the outside of his foot before Golovin capped a great personal performance by curling his free kick beyond the wall to get the month-long Moscow party well and truly started. An opening ceremony before the match will feature Will Smith singing Live It Up, the official anthem of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Preparation for the World Cup will not require major construction work because the 16 stadiums where matches will be played already exist.

The other Group A teams Uruguay and Egypt meet Friday in Yekaterinburg.

Russia's players were significantly taller and heavier than the Saudis, a help when challenging for the ball and when the penalty area was crowded.

Saudi Arabia will take the field on Thursday as lengthy +800 underdogs.


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