All the preparation, all the build-up and all the planning will now be put to the test as the much-anticipated 2018 FIFA World Cup has finally kicked off, with Russia playing Saudi Arabia in the opening game. Remember, no host nation has lost the opening game of the World Cup. To be honest, both teams haven’t had the best of times in recent years, but it’s today’s day that will matter. Welcome to Read Scoops live updates of the opening game of this prestigious world tournament, which has 32 participating nations. Enjoy:
7′: It’s kick-off time and Russia waste no time in getting their attacking game out. The first foul is seen within the first 50 seconds while the first corner was seen in the third minute of the game itself, awarded to Russia. Nice little attacking play and quite a few chances have been made so far by their mid-fielders. Remember, with Egypt and Uruguay in this group, both teams will have to give 200% each time, irrespective of the result of this game.
12′: Just 12 minutes is what it took to bring about the opening goal of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Russia had this coming, with several chances made, and after a loopy ball in from Aleksandr Golovin, Yuri Gazinsky heads the ball in beautifully, past the diving Saudi Arabia goal-keeper and into the net. GOAAAAAALLLL! Russia move 1-0 early on in the game.
Remember, Saudi Arabia have never won after conceding a goal in a World Cup game. In fact, they have only two WC wins to their name till date, against Morocco and Belgium. Chances of making a comeback from here are low, but you never know. This is ultimately, the FIFA World Cup, where players play more on adrenaline than merit.
23′: Has Alan Dzagoev’s World Cup campaign lasted just 23 minutes? He’s caught his hamstring and fallen to the ground. If it’s as serious as it looks, that will be a major blow to Russia, as he was one of their main players in this tournament; he has been substituted off. In other news, Russian captain Akinfeev’s goal is yet to be threatened by the Saudi Arabians.
Vladimir Putin memes begin. Watch his reaction after the goal was conceded:
35′: Nothing much to update. Saudi still unable to penetrate the Russian defence while the host nation continues to attack. Fyodor Smolov in particular is causing a headache to the gulf nation, creating quite a few open chances. If play continues like this, we’re expecting the home nation to win 2-0 or 3-0.
43′: Was brought on for Dzagoev and boy, has he made a great impact on just his 12th appearance for the national team. He was facing two defenders, both of whom dived in vain and Denis Cheryshev fires the ball into the top left corner of the Saudi Arabian goal to put the host nation ahead, 2-0. GOAAAAAALLLL!
Russia have won only 2 out of their 9 games after changing form the Soviet Union, but it looks like they’re going to have a better conversion from here on. The only thing Saudi are enjoying at the moment is a better ball possession in this game. They are still to get a shot on target too.
71′: It’s a thrown in form the right side of the pitch and Aleksandr Golovin opens up some space, providing the ball to Artem Dzyuba, who heads the ball in and gives Russia a third goal. GOAAAAAALLLL! They’re doing it easily now are the Russians in this important opening game. They’ve still managed not much possession but the goal scoring continues… The woes for Saudi continues too…
90′: No respite for the Saudi Arabians as Russian keep attacking. GOAAAAAALLLL! It doesn’t get better than this for the Russians. Outside of the foot from Denis Cheryshev and no goal keeper in the world would be able to stop that one. Russia are being ruthless at the moment as they go 4-0 up. Two goals for Cheryshev.
Does it get better than this?
94′: Lackadaisical from the Saudi Arabian defenders. Free kick just outside the box and Golovin finds the right corner as the Saudi goal-keeper has been beaten for the fifth time today. Russia go up 5-0 and gain three vital points in this World Cup. GOAAAAAALLLL! Another win in their last two games and they will book a spot in their first ever knockout stage.