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Russia begins 2018 FIFA World Cup with 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russian players celebrate after the 2018 World Cup Group A football match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, on June 14, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

The Russia men’s national football team has started its home campaign at the 2018 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup with a crushing victory over Saudi Arabia.

The Russian sportsmen outclassed their feeble Saudi Arabian rivals 5-0 in the tournament's opening match at the Luzhniki Stadium in the Russian capital city of Moscow on Thursday evening to put an end to their nine-month winless run, and boost the morale of the host nation's team and fans.

The spectators were sent into raptures after only 12 minutes, when 28-year-old Russian midfielder Yury Gazinsky headed home for the opener.

Denis Cheryshev showed great skill of his own later on, and unleashed a left-footed piledriver that doubled the hosts' lead just before half time.

Artem Dzyuba got Russia’s third only seconds after coming on as a substitute in the 70th minute.

Russia's Yury Gazinsky celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates during a 2018 FIFA World Cup Group A match against Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia, on June 14, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

After that, Cheryshev cleverly steered home the fourth with the outside of his foot just a minute into injury time.

Aleksandr Golovin completed the visitors' misery by curling his free kick beyond the wall in the the 94th minute to make it 5-0.

On Friday, Egypt will play Uruguay in a Group A fixture at the Central Stadium of Ekaterinburg. Morocco will take on Iran in a Group B match at Saint Petersburg’s Krestovsky Stadium.

Portugal will face Spain in a Group B encounter at Fisht Olympic Stadium of Sochi.

During the official 2018 FIFA World Cup draw ceremony at Kremlin State Palace in the Russian capital city of Moscow on December 1 last year, the host nation, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay were put in Group A in the preliminary round of the tournament.

The Iran men's national football team, nicknamed Team Melli, has joined Portugal’s A Selecção, Spain’s La Furia Roja and Atlas Lions of Morocco.

France is drawn in Group C, and is pitted against Australia, Peru and Denmark.

Russian midfielder Aleksandr Golovin is tackled during the 2018 World Cup Group A football match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, on June 14, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Argentina, Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria are drawn in Group D.

Group E consists of Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia.

While the 2014 FIFA World Cup champion Germany, Mexico, Sweden and South Korea shape Group F, Belgium, Panama, Tunisia and England are in Group G.

Group H has Poland, Senegal, Colombia and Japan.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will take place from June 14 to July 15. Russia will open the event against Saudi Arabia in a Group A fixture at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.

A total of 64 matches will be played in 12 venues located in 11 cities.


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