Russian Federation welcomed the world to the World Cup today as cheerful fans streamed into Moscow and 10 other cities and President Vladimir Putin's government derided Western efforts to isolate him.
Hello, hello, four years of waiting is finally over and the much anticipated 2018 World Cup is here.
"There are so many unpredictable things in the World Cup".
Dzagoev's replacement, Cheryshev, certainly stepped into the breach by scoring two goals after replacing the CSKA Moscow midfielder, including a stunner to make it 4-0, but the hosts can not afford to have their resources depleted even further by the loss of one of their best players.
It was the first time that Video Assistant Referee (VAR) was available at a World Cup match, even though it was not used.
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He has one Uruguay cap and was included in Óscar Tabárez's World Cup squad for the tournament in Russian Federation this summer. He has become a key player at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris and is ranked among the best defensive midfielders in Serie A .
Russian Federation then almost grabbed a third when Abdullah Al-Muaiouf spilled a low drive from Roman Zobnin, the Saudi goalkeeper recovering just time in time to nudge the ball away from Smolov.
The forward was soon replaced by Dzyuba, who struck nearly immediately by heading another Golovin cross beyond a helpless Muaiouf in the 71st minute.
Russia's midfielder Yuri Gazinskiy (left) celebrates scoring the opening goal with his teammate defender Ilja Kutepov during their 2018 World Cup Group A match against Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on June 14, 2018.
Earlier, British pop star Robbie Williams caused a stir during his performance at the opening ceremony by making an obscene gesture to a camera. The visitors failed to get a single shot on taget in the contest between the two lowest-ranked teams at the tournament.
The win for Russian Federation is a big boost to its hopes of advancing, but it will still face a tough test against Egypt on June 19 and Uruguay six days later. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq all voted against the Moroccan bid.
Egypt, the other team in Group A, face the South American side on Friday in Ekaterinburg, and Egypt and Saudi Arabia then play each other in a "Red Sea derby" match in Volgograd on 25 June. Cheryshev doubled the lead right before the half-time after coming as a replacement for Alan Dzagoev, who limped off the field due to a hamstring injury.