Russian Federation thrash Saudi Arabia to launch World Cup in style

Russia President Vladimir Putin delivers his pre-tournament speech before the World Cup opener

Camera Icon Russia President Vladimir Putin delivers his pre-tournament speech before the World Cup opener

Both teams surpassed that in Sochi, where they played to a 3-3 tie that fans will be talking about for years.

Saudi Arabia coach Juan Antonio Pizzi played down suggestions that his position is under threat after a 5-0 loss to Russian Federation in the opening match of the World Cup on Thursday.

Williams was performing the opening act with Russian soprano Aida Garifullina.

"Of course Saudi Arabia will win", she predicted ahead of the match, saying she grew up loving football, along with her father and brothers.

It was Gazinsky's first goal of his worldwide career.

Substitute Denis Cheryshev scored twice - the first after a piece of skill that would have graced a Lionel Messi highlights reel - and the second a superb shot in stoppage time.

Aleksandar Golovin assisted two goals before netting a sweet free-kick in extra time to cap a confident first win.

Russian fans were less numerous than worldwide ones, but they were rooting for their team to pull off a triumphant start to the championship.

Afghanistan fight back as India reach 347-6 in historic Test
Afghanistan recently acquired test status and will play its first test match against India in Bangalore on June 14-18. Our batsmen have faced different bowlers - spinners and pacers both - and that is the best preparation.

Saudi Arabia still have two more games against Egypt and Uruguay to claw back some credibility as they will be facing a tougher task qualifying from their group.

The Middle Eastern nation had a disastrous display and were widely labelled as one of the worst nation to ever perform at the World Cup finals.

The crowd were then treated to a fabulous finale as Cheryshev cleverly rifled home an unstoppable curving fourth with the outside of his foot before Golovin capped a great personal performance by curling his free kick beyond the wall. One of those cheering for Saudi Arabia was Mona Mohammad, a 35-year-old who works for an oil company and was pushing her baby in a pram decorated with Saudi flags.

Ten minutes later, Alan Dzagoev, playing behind the striker, limped out with injury.

'Juventus? They are all strong, but Paulo Dybala is the best, as he has more creativity and is my favourite'.

Africa will be eagerly awaiting the continent's first appearance as the Pharaohs of Egypt clash against South Americans Uruguay on Friday afternoon.

A Russian and Saudi supporter pose with a replica of the World Cup trophy.

Latest News