Not a bad start for the hosts, eh?
The first 45 minutes of the opening game of the 2018 World Cup saw Russia build a 2-0 lead against Saudi Arabia.
Although their opponents appeared to make a brighter start in Moscow, Yuri Gazinskiy headed home the first goal of the game (and tournament) after 12 minutes. It remained 1-0 until shortly before the interval, when a Russian break saw the ball rolled into the path of Denis Cheryshev.
On as an early substitute for the injured Alan Dzagoev, Cheryshev was in space as the ball was played to him on the left side of the Saudi Arabian area. With the defence stretched, two defenders made a desperate attempt to swallow up the space. Sensing that a sliding tackle was imminent, the Villarreal star used his first touch to dink the ball over his opponent before going on to power home Russia’s second goal of the game.
Cheryshev keeps a cool head in the box, turns two Saudi defenders and the substitute powers the ball high into the net pic.twitter.com/vH7o2sFla8
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) June 14, 2018
Russia’s game with Saudi Arabia was the first in Group A. The second, which sees Mo Salah’s Egypt take on Uruguay takes place at 1pm on Friday. Morocco and Iran play the Group B opener later in the afternoon with the eagerly anticipated game between European champions Portugal and 2010 world champions Spain in the evening.
England, drawn in Group G, will play their first game of the tournament against Tunisia in Volgograd on Monday.