Russia World Cup ready to kick off with grand opening ceremony

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The United States proposed staging 60 out of the 80 games at the 2026 World Cup, the first edition of the tournament that will include 48 teams.

Putin and Infantino smiled and shrugged as they sat next to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the VIP box. Putin then reached over to shake the prince's hand.

Cheryshev chipped the ball over two Saudi defenders in the 43rd minute and shot over goalkeeper Abdullah Al Muaiouf's right side.

After controversial Federation Internationale de Football Association votes gave the tournament to Russia and Qatar in 2018 and 2022 respectively, the governing body promised to have a more open, transparent process this time.

The opening goal came soon after, as Saudi Arabia failed to clear a corner and a curling cross in from the left by Golovin picked out an unmarked Gazinsky to head low into the far corner.

It only took 11 minutes for the first goal of the 2018 FIFA World Cup to be scored during Thursday's opening match between Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia.

Although the Saudis pressed in the opening moments, Russian Federation created the first clear threat when Mario Fernandes crossed for Fyodor Smolov, whose shot was blocked.

The 2018 World Cup isn't the first go-around for Achilles, who correctly predicted the outcomes of three out of four Confederations Cup matches played in St. Petersburg previous year, including the opening and final matches, Tass reports.

Golovin is the young star of this Russian Federation team, and the CSKA midfielder was impressive against the Saudis, but Dzagoev's class and experience will be a key loss if he fails to recover in time for the remaining Group A games against Egypt and Uruguay.

But with the five goals against the Saudis, a draw could be enough against either of its two remaining opponents.

Saudi Arabia's route to the knockout round is much more hard.

But they will be aware that the Asian qualifiers look desperately ill-equipped to trouble Egypt or group favorites Uruguay, who meet tomorrow, and that there is still much to be done for the hosts to secure progress to the knockout stage.

Alan Dzagoev had been at the heart of things in their midfield promptings but had to go off after pulling a hamstring in the 23rd minute.