Host Russia blanks Suadi Arabia in World Cup’s opening match

Russia is off to a perfect start as host nation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Russia cruised to a 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia on Thursday in the opening match of the tournament at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.

Yuri Gazinsky opened the scoring in the 12th minute, connecting on a header off a cross played into the box. Denis Cheryshev added a second goal for the hosts in the 43rd minute. Cheryshev was a first half substitute, replacing Alan Dzagoev who left the game due to injury.

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Artem Dzyuba entered the game as a substitute in the 70th minute, and within 89 seconds of stepping onto the pitch he made it 3-0 for Russia when he headed home from close range.

Cheryshev scored a spectacular goal with the inside of his boot from just inside the penalty area in injury time. Aleksandr Golovin scored from a free kick moments later to complete the rout.

Russia (No. 70 in the world) and Saudi Arabia (No. 67) are the two lowest-ranked teams competing at this 32-nation tournament.

Group A continues on Friday (8:00 a.m. ET) when Egypt meets Uruguay in Yekaterinburg.

More to follow soon

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