Wow! What a start the home team Russia have given to the World Cup. Russia completely tore apart Saudi Arabia for 5-0 in the opening game of the tournament. The Russian camp finally ended their 16-year long wait for a victory in the presence of their President Vladimir Putin and FIFA President Gianni Infantino and gave them something to cheer for.
Russian team substitute, Denis Cheryshev smacked 2 goals to lead the home team against a victory in the first match itself and was instrumental in the team’s victory after a 16-year wait, with the last win in 2002 edition of the World Cup.
Yuri Gazinsky’s header helped Russia draw the first blood from Alexandar Golovin’s cross in the 12th minute of the game. Gazinsky tore apart the defenses to ensure a simple goal against the Saudi Arabians, leaving the goalkeeper perplexed for a moment.
Cheryshev paved the ball over 2 defenders in the 43rd minute and smacked from the keeper’s right corner. He later contributed during the stoppage time which ensured the 4th goal for the team. Artyom Dzyuba followed Chershev’s goal to make it 3-0 in the second half of the game from Golovin’s cross with Golovin himself scoring the 5th on a free kick.
Unfortunately for the Saudi Arabians who last won a World Cup match in 1994 edition of the game, they failed to put up a decent show and exhibited a dismal performance in the presence of Saudi Prince Mohamed bin Salman.
Group Stage Dynamics
Russian victory has really elevated their morale to a new level and will be expected to continue in their splendid performance against Egypt which is scheduled on 19th June and with the mighty Uruguay 6 days later. Also, with a thumping victory of 5-0, even a draw against the remaining rivals would help them ensure a safe seat in the top position.
For Saudi Arabia though, things have turned sour from the 1st game itself and a road to the top position in the group stage would now seem like a challenge. They will now face Uruguay on 20th June and then finally Egypt on 25th June.
Russia’s advantage over Saudi Arabia
The Russian players were quite taller than the Saudi Arabians and it helped to quite an extent while smacking the ball from the crowded penalty region. Russian player’s physique helped them get an edge over Saudi Arabia, as it was visible from today’s game when Dzyuba, the tall guy from Russia struck a beautiful header and created some more struggles for Saudi Arabia.
The only thing that seems to trouble Russia at the moment, is the injury of their midfielder Alan Dzagoev in the 1st half of the game.
It would be interesting to see how the home team performs from this moment onwards after registering a thumping victory in the first game itself. Hope they create some wonders in their World Cup campaign.