ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Russia put in a dominant performance on Thursday to beat Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the opening match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
It took the Russians 12 minutes to open their account after Yuri Gazinskiy rose highest to head the ball into the net, sending fans at the Luzhniki Stadium in a rapturous celebration.
Russia added a second through first-half substitute Denis Cheryshev in the 43rd minute to give the home team a commanding lead going into the break.
Saudi Arabia had no answer for the men in red and white as Artem Dzyuba scored his team’s third goal in the 71st minute.
It got worse for Suadi in second-half stoppage time as Cheryshev added a fourth before Aleksandr Golovin scored his side’s fifth goal.
Russia’s next match is against Egypt on June 19 before they take on Uruguay on June 25.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup takes place between June 14 and July 15 with 32 teams from five different confederations competing.
As the host nation, Russia received automatic qualification to this summer’s tournament.
A bidding nation requires a majority of 12 votes to host the tournament. Russia notably beat the likes of Portugal, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, and England in the bidding process to host the 2018 tournament, winning 13 votes.
‘Security is Russia’s top concern’
Ahead of the tournament, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich told Kurdistan 24 that Moscow had taken all the necessary security measures to protect fans and players during and after the World Cup.
“We know how to do those things. We had experience with Olympic games in Sochi, and other big international events,” Dvorkovich said.