World Cup 2018: the opening game – live! Russia 5 - 0 Saudi Arabia- Full Time

World Cup

World Cup 2018: the opening game – live! Russia 5 - 0 Saudi Arabia- Full Time

World Cup

14 June 2018 Thursday 17:47
World Cup 2018: the opening game – live!  Russia 5 - 0 Saudi Arabia- Full Time

GOAL! RUSSIA 5-0 SAUDI ARABIA (Golovin, 90+3)

FIVE STARS FOR RUSSIA! IT'S ANOTHER STUNNER.

A free-kick from 25 yards is curled precisely into the top corner via the right boot of Golovin. He deserves that - looks a player. Vodka sales will be up this evening in Moscow. What a start!

GOAL! RUSSIA 4-0 SAUDI ARABIA (Cheryshev, 90+1)

OH WOW!

Cherry on top for Russia - this is a sublime effort. The ball drops to Cheryshev, who is full of confidence. From about 22 yards he bends a sensational effort with the outside of his boot right into the top corner. Lovely job.

GOAL! RUSSIA 4-0 SAUDI ARABIA (Cheryshev, 90+1)

90: Three minutes added on here.

88: YELLOW! Golovin is the first man to have his name taken. For a pointless trip on Al Faraj in midfield. 

86: This result leaves Stanislav Cherchesov’s men in a strong position to qualify for the last-16 and uphold the strong record of hosts at major international tournaments - 20 of 21 host teams have progressed from their group

82: BLOCK! Al Sahlawi breaks free down the right edge and cuts inside. It opens up for him but the old boy Ignashevich gets his body in the way. What a return to international football. He's been very solid - could have played in pre-match suit. Not been troubled.

79: This one looks over as a contest now. Russia could get a few more if they fancy it. Good chance to get the goal difference up.... 

RUSSIA 3-0 SAUDI ARABIA

75: A Mexican Wave is sent around the stadium - which is a bit harsh on their team. They've been more entertaining than that suggests.

GOAL! RUSSIA 3-0 SAUDI ARABIA (Dzyuba, 72)

What an impact! He scores with his first touch.

Zobnin again finds space just outside the area and has all the time in the world to curl a clever ball into the big man. He's only eight yards out and easily rises above his defender to divert a header into the bottom corner. The perfect start for the Russians. 

70: SUB! Dzyuba - all six feet, five inches of him - replaces Smolov, who will be dissapointed not to have added to his international goals. 

68: SHOT! Saudi Arabia are tiring here. Zobnin finds a huge amount of space about 20 yards out and hits a low effort. Al Muaiouf gets down but can't hold on...Smolov tries to bundle in the rebound but it's deflected clear.

65: CHANCE! Golovin makes good yards down the left and digs a cross out. Cheryshev gets in front of his marker but his header loops straight into Al Muaiouf's arms.

64: SUB! Attacking change: Otayf off, Al Muwallad on.

62: Russia very happy to allow the Asian side to have the ball here. When they nick it, they get into Golovin who tries to break. 

59: CHANCE! Al Sahlawi sends in a in-swinging free-kick that causes problems. Al Faraj wins the header but flicks it over the bar from 15 yards. It was a tough opportunity but one clinical players usually test the goalkeeper with. Akinfeev has hardly had a touch. 

56: CHANCE!! Better from Al Dawsari down the right. He wastes no time in whipping a ball into the mixer and Ignashevich looks his age as he tries to turn. The ball curls across the six yard box but Al Sahlawi can't quite get a touch to push it goalbound. 

52: SHOT! Yet more poor passing from The Green Falcons. Golovin this time nips in and attacks through the middle. He lets fly from 22 yards....a couple of yards over. Should have done better.

49: Slow start here with Russia allowing Saudi Arabia to come onto them before hitting on the break. 

So, let's have a look at Robbie in action

RUSSIA 2-0 SAUDI ARABIA

46: Here we go! We are back - can Saudi Arabia lift themselves or will Russia put their foot down?

HT: The hosts are up and running here. They've punished Saudi Arabia, who look lightweight and very awkward with the ball. It's been a decent encounter, set alight by goals from Gazinskiy and Cheryshev. Hard to see this one being turned around. See you in 15.

GOAL! RUSSIA 2-0 SAUDI ARABIA (Cheryshev, 43)

Breathing space - and they deserve it. Saudi Arabia have been so so sloppy with the ball.

A quick ball forward finds Russia with a three-on-two. Smolov works the ball to the spare man who is Cheryshev but the ball is a poor one. However, the striker skillfully dinks the ball over the sliding defender then powers an effort into the roof of the net. Classy finish from the substitute - his first goal for his country. 

39: Golovin nicks possession and works a two-on-two. He has Smolov making a clever run but the pass is punted 15 yards ahead of his mate. So poor.

36: PENALTY APPEAL...NOT GIVEN! Smolov drives into the area and tries to take on Hawsawi on the outside. The big defender sticks out a leg and toes the ball away. Smolov wants the pen but the referee had a great position. VAR not needed.

34: Real lack of quality on show here. Smolov pulls out to the left and takes on Al Shahrani. He tries a flip-flap by the touchline but gets it all wrong. 

36: PENALTY APPEAL...NOT GIVEN! Smolov drives into the area and tries to take on Hawsawi on the outside. The big defender sticks out a leg and toes the ball away. Smolov wants the pen but the referee had a great position. VAR not needed.

34: Real lack of quality on show here. Smolov pulls out to the left and takes on Al Shahrani. He tries a flip-flap by the touchline but gets it all wrong. 

31: CHANCE! Good work by Al Sahlawi - he wins a foul of Zhirkov about five yards outside the box on the right. He whips a buzzy free-kick into the box...Hawsawi gets up but his header balloons well over the crossbar.

28: SHOT! Al Faraj works it through midfield and finds Al Dawsari about 30 yards out. He tries a spectacular effort on the turn but gets it all wrong. Miles over.

26: Nice introduction by Cheryshev - Saudi Arabia try to play out and get caught. Cheryshev attacks down the left, beats two men but his low cross is scrambled clear.

23: INJURY! Russia break with a three-on-three but Dzagoev pulls up holding his hamstring - clearly torn the muscle. He limps off. 

RUSSIA 1-0 SAUDI ARABIA

21: CLOSE! Al Dawsari finds space down the left and bursts clear. He chips a hopeful ball into the area which Al Sahlawi attacks with Kutepov. The ball spins just wide of the post. 

18: Better from Saudi Arabia - they've weathered the storm and have got up the pitch. Their passing is slick but they lack quality.

15: SAVE! The visitors need a moment here - Russia are hunting a second. A break down the right finds Smolov at the near post. He flicks one towards the far corner but Al Muaiouf is alert to it. He spectacularly palms it clear.

OAL! RUSSIA 1-0 SAUDI ARABIA (Gazinskiy, 12)

9: Russia finding their stride. Golovin beats his man on the outside and forces a corner. It's a deep one but headed clear by Al Shahrani.

7: SHOT! Russia break. Dzagoev releases Fernandes down the line and he slides a cross into Smolov, who strikes from 10 yards but it's blocked away by Hawsawi.

5: Good spell of passing from the visitors but they send it all the way back to Al Muaiouf, whose first touch almost lets in Smolov but he scrambles it clear.

3: Remember, VAR is in use here. And the Argentinian referee looks a man capable of enforcing it. He's over six foot and built like a wall.

Meanwhile, on the pitch, it's scrappy. Smolov nearly finds half a yard inside the box but is ushered away.

1: KICK-OFF! Time for the pleasantries and talking to stop. Let's get serious. Russia - in red and white - take on Saudi Arabia - in green and white. 

THE WORLD CUP IS GO, GO, GO! Saudi Arabia get the game going.

The opening ceremony is closed. Over the next few minutes an emblem, giant flags and a “players’ carpet” will be placed on the pitch. Apparently 140 volunteers are involved in this effort.

ITV have cruelly cut away from the opening ceremony, denying us the chance of watching Robbie Williams sing Rock DJ while the stage is dismantled behind him. This seems rude to me.

Ronaldo passes the ball to the mascot, Zabivaka. This was “a symbolic first kick”. Blink and you missed it.

And here’s Ronaldo, interacting with that kid again.

The official match ball has just been brought onto the pitch, by the model Victoria Lopyreva. This very ball went into space earlier this year, spent some time on the International Space Station and got back on 3 June.

The 32 pairs aren’t exactly dancers. Each has one flag-bearing, marching man, and a woman dressed in spectacular, lavish dresses in the colours of each nation’s flag. Top-notch costumery here.

It segues into Angels. Aida Garifullina will join in with this, while 32 pairs of dancers, each representing one of the participating teams, take to the field. Meanwhile 211 kids of the “football for friendship” programme will wave flags in the stands, and spectators will “hold golden stars”.

Only 1min 20sec has been allocated to this song, so enjoy it while it lasts.

Robbie Williams is now playing Feel, “accompanied by dancers and performers with ‘bird-kites’”.

According to Fifa in the next 90 seconds “performers play with the firebird’s feathers”.

Now Alexander Boldachev, the harpist, is playing for us. “A firebird enters the pitch, spreads its wings and reveals Aida Garifullina on its back”. TV cameras missed the wing-spreading reveal, sadly.

Interacting, incidentally, means holding hands. Ronaldo and Robbie don’t hold hands, but the kid has a go with both of them. Anyway, now Robbie Williams is singing Let Me Entertain You, “accompanied by dancers and freestylers”

Updated: 15.06.2018 10:40
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