Match stats



  • 1 Akinfeev
  • 2 Fernandes
  • 3 Kutepov
  • 4 Ignashevich
  • 18 Zhirkov
  • 11 Zobnin
  • 8 Gazinsky
  • 17 Golovin
  • 19 Samedov
  • 10 Smolov
  • 9 Dzagoev


  • 12 Lunev
  • 5 Semenov
  • 6 Cheryshev (s 24′)
  • 7 Kuzyaev
  • 13 Kudryashov
  • 14 Granat
  • 15 Miranchuk
  • 16 Miranchuk
  • 21 Erokhin
  • 22 Dzyuba
  • 23 Smolnikov
  • 20 Gabulov

Saudi Arabia

  • 1 Al-Muaiouf
  • 6 Al-Breik
  • 3 Hawsawi
  • 5 Hawsawi
  • 13 Al-Shahrani
  • 17 Al-Jassam
  • 14 Otayf
  • 18 Al Dawsari
  • 8 Al-Shehri
  • 7 Al-Faraj
  • 10 Al-Sahlawi


  • 21 Al-Mosailem
  • 2 Al-Harbi
  • 4 Al Bulaihi
  • 9 Bahbir
  • 11 Al-Khaibri
  • 12 Kanno
  • 15 Al-Khaibari
  • 16 Al-Moqahwi
  • 19 Al-Muwallad
  • 20 Asiri
  • 23 Hawsawi
  • 22 Al-Owais

Full-time: Russia 5-0 Saudi Arabia

GOAL! Russua 5-0 Saudi Arabia (Golovin)

90+2 min: Cheryshev scores his second ever international goal and they’ve both come in the same game. His first was sublime, showing great close control. His second was also a beauty, sending the ball high past Al-Mayouf with the outside of his left boot from the left side of the penalty area. A tip of the hat also to Artem Dzyuba, who teed him up.

GOAL! Russia 4-0 Saudi Arabia (Cheryshev 90)

90+1 min: We’re into three minutes of added time at the end of the opening game of World Cup 2018.

88 min: Aleksandr Golovin gets the first yellow card of the game and it’s for a fairly innocuous foul on Al-Faraj. Two bookings amounts to a suspension in this tournament and disciplinary slates are wiped clean ahead of the quarter-finals.

86 min: Russia win a corner, which Salman Al-Faraj clears at the near post.

84 min: Saudi Arabia substitution: Muhammad Al-Sahlawi off, Muhammad Asiri on. “Hey Asiri, how do we get from 3-0 down against Russia with five minutes to go?” enquires Clive Tyldesley in the ITV commentary box. Zing!

82 min: It would be fair to say this match is over as a contest, in so far as it was ever a contest to begin with. If this Russia team are as bad as many people say they are, then Saudi Arabia must be truly atrocious. They can’t keep the ball, are completely toothless up front and have been unable to lay a glove on a Russian central defence with a combined age of over 70.

78 min: Saudi substitution from immediately after latest goal: Yahya Al-Shehri off, Hatan Bahbri on.

76 min: Russia win a free-kick wide on the right and Golvin curls the ball into the penalty area. The ball is headed wide by somebody who wasn’t Dzyuba – apologies, I didn’t see who as I had eyes only for him.

73 min: Having been on the field mere seconds, Dzyuba scores with a wonderful header that I’m fairly certain was his first touch of the ball. The ball was curled his way from the right flank by Zobnin and the big man made no mistake. From eight yards, he beat his man and placed an unstoppable header into the bottom right-hand corner. An excellent finish.

GOAL! Russia 3-0 Saudi Arabia (Dzyuba)

70 min: Russia substitution: Artem Dzyuba on for Fyodor Smolov. The rangy 6ft 5in striker could make hay against this extremely dodgy and increasingly fatigued Saudi defence.

68 min: Heart in mouth time for Saudi Arabia as Al-Mayouf spills what should have been a fairly straightforward save and the ball drops to the feet of Smolov. The Saudi goalkeeper bravely dives to smother the ball before the Russian can flick it goalwards.

66 min: Cheryshev heads into the arms of Al-Mayouf after being teed up by Golovin.

64 min: Russia substitute: Samedov off, Daler Kuzyaev on.

63 min: Saudi Arabaia send on their first subsitute. Every country has their “Messi” and Fahad Al-Mulwallad is Saudi Arabia’s. Indeed, he was a surprise omission from today’s starting line-up. A winger by trade, he replaces Abdullah Otayf and takes up a central position, with Mohammad Al-Salawi moving wide.
58 min: Saudi Arabia wina free kick in a good position, wide on the right. Al-Jassim curls the ball across the penalty area, but Salman Al-Faraj’s header is half-hearted and doesn’t trouble Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev in the slightest.

54 min: Saudi Arabia enjoy a spell of possession inside the Russian half, but are struggling to find any kind of killer boy. Eventually, the ball is whipped acrosss the edge of the six-yard box from the right flank, but despite stretching every sinew, Taisar Al-Jassim is unable to poke it goalwards.

52 min: Golovin shoots over from about 20 yards after Saudi Arabia lose the ball yet again. They like to play possession football, but seem utterly incapable of doing so … which is a bit of a problem for them.
50 min: Saudi Arabia lose the ball high up the field again and Yuri Zhirkov plays a long pass in behind their centre-backs for Smolov to chase. He wins his team a corner. Zhirkov sends the ball into the mixer, where Osama Hawsawi clears with a meaty header.

48 min: Golovin tries to curl a cross in behind for Smolov, but overhits his pass. The striker scampers towards the touchline but is muscled off the ball by Mohammad Al-Breik.


Second half: Russia 2-0 Saudi Arabia

That Cheryshev goal: Some of the Saudi defending has been little short of atrocious and Mohammad Al-Breik and Omar Hawsawi were both culpable for the second Russian goal. As Cheryshev picked up the ball on the left side of the Saudi penalty area, both defenders lunged in, committing themselves completely and allowing the Russian substitute to make room for a shot and rifle the ball into the roof of the net.

Half-time: Russia 2-0 Saudi Arabia




GOAL! Russia 2-0 Saudi Arabia (Cheryshev 43)








Updated 16:30






20 min: Yasser Al-Shahrani has been Saudi Arabia’s stand-out player thus far and again surges up the left flank. He crosses to Mohammad Al-Sahlaawi, whose diving header is deflected narrowly wide of the left upright by Ilya Kupetov for a Saudi Arabia corner.




GOAL! Russia 1-0 Saudi Arabia (Gazinsky 12)

10 min: Russia win another corner, which Zhirkov takes again. He tries to pick out Alan Dzagoev, but overcooked his delivery. Yasser Al-Shahrani heads clear for Saudi Arabia.

7 min: Russia win a throw-in deep in Saudi Arabia territory, then another. Omar Hawsawi clears. Moments previously Dzagoev had sent Fernandes galloping down the left flank with a nicely weighted ball. His cross was met by Smolov, who struck from 12 yards or so only to see his shot blocked.




World Cup 2018 is go!!!

Source: The Guardian

By Ian Dei