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Group A @ Luzhniki Stadium
The two teams had met only once, a friendly game in 1993 won by Saudi Arabia 4–2.
In the 12th minute, Yury Gazinsky headed the first goal for Russia from a cross from the left before substitute Denis Cheryshev evaded several challenges and smashed home at the near post close to half-time. The tempo slowed and the atmosphere flattened after the restart, giving the whole thing the feel of a friendly match. But substitute Artem Dzyuba illuminated a match of often dubious quality with a precise header from a cross from the right to extend his team's lead just minutes after replacing Fyodor Smolov. As the match moved into injury time, Cheryshev smashed home with a crisp left-foot strike into the top right corner before Aleksandr Golovin curled a free-kick around the wall and into the right of the net.
Alan Dzagoev limped off with a hamstring injury in the 24th minute. "Alan Dzagoev damaged the muscles in the back of the thigh," Russia said in a brief statement.
For the first time in World Cup history, two players – Gazinsky and Cheryshev – scored their first international goals in the opening match. Russia's victory means that the host nation has never lost their opening match in any of the 21 editions of the World Cup (won 16, drew six). Russia (5–0) recorded the second biggest victory by a host nation in their opening match at a World Cup, after Italy v USA in 1934 (7–1); while it is also the second largest victory of any host nation, only behind Italy vs USA at 1934 and Brazil vs Sweden at 1950, both ended 7–1. Russia's Denis Cheryshev became the first substitute to score a goal in the opening match of a World Cup tournament. In this game, Sergei Ignashevich became the oldest player to ever appear in a World Cup match for Russia/USSR (38 years & 335 days old).
For Saudi Arabia, this was their second biggest defeat in World Cup, after the 0–8 defeat to Germany in 2002. These losses are also the biggest defeats for any Arab team to have participated in the FIFA World Cup. Result ListPopular Tweets
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