Did you anticipate the opening game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup to be that exciting and entertaining? Well, I didn’t as the opening game was not between some giant nations or favorites for the World Cup. However, one should appreciate the game that both the team put up in front of the 81,000 fans present at the Luzhniki Stadium.
Our prediction totally vanished away, and I don’t think anybody predicted that it will be a five-goal thriller. That too Russia will put in five goals inside Saudi Arabia’s net.
Saudi Arabia started the game with a great energy and showed some sensible passing in the starting few minutes of the goal. However, Russia didn’t come on the ground to see Saudi Players passing among each other and this got clear in the 12th minute itself. The Green Falcons were unable to clear the Russian corner and the ball reached Aleksandr Golovin, who was present on the left wing. Golovin crossed the ball to the back post that found the header of Yury Gazinsky and ended at the bottom corner of the goal.
In the 24th minute of the game, Alan Dzagoev got injured and was replaced by Denis Cheryshev. Well, I would say that this substitution worked in the favor of Russian football team as Denis Cheryshev scored a brace and a first stunner of the 2018 World Cup.
The National Team scored their second goal right before the ending of first-half. This was the first goal of the night for Denis Cheryshev. The Russian players outpaced Saudi players on the right flank and got the ball near 30-yard-box. Roman Zobnin got the ball and then passed it to Villareal midfielder. Cheryshev dribbled past three Saudi defenders and fired it inside the net giving Abdullah Al-Mayouf no chance to stop the ball.
Everybody anticipated that the Saudi Arabian side will come back strong in the second-half, but it went the other way round as Russian scored three more goals in the second half of the game. The third goal of the game came from the header of Artem Dzyuba. Once again it was a pin perfect cross of Golovin from the right flank. Dzyuba got behind Omar Hawsawi back and put the ball in the bottom right corner of the goal.
The last two goals of the game came in the stoppage time. Cheryshev got the ball on the edge of the box and then scored a stunner on the second touch that went over the top of the head of Al-Mayouf into the top corner of the goal. The last goal of the Russian side was scored from the free-kick spot, right outside the box. Golovin stepped-up to take the free-kick on this occasion and didn’t disappoint fans as he put a curling shot above the wall into the back of the net.
The possession was dominated by the Green Falcons, but they couldn’t even put one shot on the target of the opposing goal post. On the other hand, the National Side played a beautiful team game and proved that one cannot take the host country lightly in the 2018 World Cup.
This victory meant that the host nations have never lost their opening game in all the 21 editions of the FIFA World Cup (win – 16 and draw – 5). In addition, this victory also became the second biggest victory by the host nation in their first game, the biggest victory is of 7-1, Italy over the USA in the 1934 World Cup.