Russian Federation v Saudi Arabia Analysis

Russian Federation v Saudi Arabia Analysis

The 27-year-old is among Russia's top players with nine goals in 58 appearances, but fans will be encouraged by the performance of his replacement, Denis Cheryshev, who scored twice against Saudi Arabia.

Putin enjoyed the game from his private box alongside Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman who were friendly in the early part of the game, not so much at the latter end of it. Putin then reached over to shake the prince's hand.

A swift attack from the Russians led to Cheryshev cleverly flicking the ball past two Saudi defenders and blasting the ball into the back of the net to put the Russians 2-0 up going into half-time.

Russian Federation selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.

Just 12 minutes into the match, the Saudi backline got caught out of place after a corner kick, leaving a wide open opportunity for Yury Gazinsky to score the opening goal of the tournament.

Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Abdullah Almuaiouf is beaten by a free kick from Russia's Alexander Golovin in extra-time of their World Cup opener.

Artistic performances from United Kingdom singer Robbie Williams and Russian operatic soprano Aida Garifullina were the highlights of the opening ceremony.

Kashmiri journalist Shujaat Bukhari shot dead in Srinagar, condolences pour in
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said in a message that she was shocked and saddened by Bukhari's "sudden demise". In a statement posted on Facebook , the Editors' Guild of India condemned what it called the "dastardly attack" on Bukhari.

With some 200,000 visiting fans in the country to follow the 32 teams, Putin has urged Russians to put on a show and get behind the home team - a task not helped by poor form that makes them the tournament's weakest side by Federation Internationale de Football Association world ranking. You can't ask for a better way to get the crowd excited in the inaugural match of the Cup.

The win for Russian Federation is a big boost to its hopes of advancing, but it will still face a tough test against Egypt on June 19 and Uruguay six days later.

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

Women in Saudi Arabia were allowed to attend soccer matches for the first time this year, as the deeply conservative Muslim country takes steps to ease some restrictions on them.

A matchup of Group A's best sides, Uruguay would be favored under the best of conditions, but with Salah uncertain to play, the Uruguayans should win easily.

Having lost several key players to injury before the World Cup, the loss of Dzagoev to what appeared to be a hamstring pull halfway through the first half of the opening game was merely another setback for coach Cherchesov.

Russian Federation had a penalty appeal turned down in the 35th minute, but Saudi captain Osama Hawsawi got enough on the ball when he challenged Golovin to avoid censure from VAR.

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