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14th Jun 2018

Russia’s first three World Cup goalscorers aren’t even in the official sticker collection

Don't worry. The goals still stand...

Simon Lloyd

Russia are up and running in their own World Cup

The hosts breezed past Saudi Arabia in their opener in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, ending up 5-0 winners.

The final goal of the game was scored in stoppage time by highly rated CSKA Moscow youngster Aleksandr Golovin. The 22-year-old has been linked with Manchester United in the last couple of weeks (who hasn’t?) and put the gloss on a memorable Russian victory by finding the net with a well-placed free-kick.

By this stage, the result was already beyond doubt, and so Golovin’s goal might not have seemed too important. To those who have bothered to spend their hard-earned cash on trying to complete the tournament’s official sticker collection over the last couple of weeks, however, it was.

Incredibly, Golovin became the first to feature in the album to actually score at the tournament. Russia’s three other scorers – Yuri Gazinsky, Denis Cheryshev and Artem Dzyuba – all failed to make the cut.

Although Saudi Arabia had made a relatively bright start to the game, Russia took the lead in the game after 12 minutes courtesy of Gazinsky’s header. Cheryshev doubled the lead shortly before half-time thanks to a smart first touch. After the break, a third came from substitute Dzyuba with Cheryshev, who’d also started the game on the bench, adding his second of the game shortly before Golovin completed the scoring.

Egypt and Uruguay, the other two nations in Russia’s group, play the second game of the tournament on Friday. Group B games between Morocco and Iran and the eagerly anticipated meeting between Portugal and Spain also take place later in the day.