Russia World Cup ready to kick off with grand opening ceremony

Russia World Cup ready to kick off with grand opening ceremony

Russia World Cup ready to kick off with grand opening ceremony

Russian Federation will get the ball rolling against Saudi Arabia at the completely refurbished 80,000-capacity Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow after an opening ceremony attended by President Vladimir Putin.

While Western countries chose not to send senior representatives to the opening ceremony, there are no sporting boycotts like the one that marred the 1980 Moscow Olympics, or doping bans of the kind that excluded many Russians from the last two Olympic Games.

First-half substitute Denis Cheryshev scored his first worldwide goals in the 43rd and 90+1 minutes in World Cup opener.

The opening ceremony included a mini-concert by British pop star Robbie Williams, who performed "Let Me Entertain You".

Russian Federation next play Egypt on Tuesday in St Petersburg while the Saudis face Uruguay the following day in Rostov-on-Don.

Fans got the party started prior to Russia's 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia.

With their squad all based in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia's lack of exposure to games against the elite is another problem they have to overcome to have any hope of competing at this level in the future. Saudi Arabia take on Uruguay on June 20 in Rostov-on-Don.

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

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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.

Russian Federation even overcame the setback of losing midfielder Alan Dzagoev to a 22nd-minute injury by scoring again through Denis Cheryshev (twice) and Artem Dzyuba to record a convincing victory. Better still, with Russians looking for the early shoots of a footballing Renaissance in a side cramped by a financially rich but poor quality domestic league, the cross that set up the tournament's opening goal came from CSKA Moscow's 22-year-old Aleksandr Golovin.

Russia's bench players had their day of glory.

Gazinskiy headed in Golovin's cross to score the first goal of the 2018 event, with Dzagoev's replacement Cheryshev lashing in the second before the interval.

He said it was not related to their gender. He averaged 0.5 xGF per 90 for Villarreal, showing that he gets on the end of at least one good chance per 90 - a solid return for a winger.

Veteran British LGBT rights campaigner Peter Tatchell is detained by police officers during a one-man protest to draw attention to what he said were appalling human rights abuses committed against gay men in Chechnya, in central Moscow, Russia June 14, 2018.

Saudi coach Juan Antonio Pizzi: "We were not doing what we wanted to do".

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