Hosts Russia hammer Saudi Arabia in World Cup opener

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And the hosts struck after 12 minutes when they forced another corner which was half-cleared and, when Roman Zobnin crossed, Gazinsky headed home the tournament's opening goal. Hosts Russia will take on and Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest sporting festival explodes into life in Moscow.

Hosts Russia got their World Cup off to a dream start with a thumping 5-0 victory over Saudi Arabia in Moscow. Ah yes, and an aggressive first-half performance from Russian Federation set the tone for a thumping win over an unfathomably miserable Saudi Arabia, arranging them a win over a tentative Saudi Arabia, whose propensity for giving the ball away unnecessarily and total lack of intensity, defensive discipline and attacking edge ultimately proved to be their undoing.

When, nine minutes later, Alan Dzagoev twanged a hamstring, Saudi might've thought things were looking up, and they began to enjoy some of the ball.

Saudi Arabia were caught napping at the back once more on 71 minutes as Golovin was given far too much space on the right to cross for Dzyuba, who directed a downward header into the bottom-right corner of the net. 1-0 to Russian Federation just 12 minutes in. He is replaced by Denis Cheryshev for rest of the match.

Saudi Arabia were continuing to give possession away easily and, from another concession dangerously close to their own area, Golovin fired over.

It would get better in stoppage time as Cheryshev scored a stunner with the outside of his left foot, then Golovin curled home a handsome free kick to make it 5-0.

FIFA World Cup 2018 action will start on Thursday with the two weakest teams in the tournament.

What: Russia will play Saudi Arabia in a Group A game at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The Green Falcons kept playing their crisp passing game and Salem Al-Dawsari got under his first-time shot from 25 yards out on 28 minutes after good build-play on the right, while Al-Sahlawi sent a looping header well over the crossbar from free-kick on the right three minutes later.

The FIFA World Cup will continue through July 15, with the matches set to take place at 12 stadiums across 11 cities.

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