Thursday 14 June 2018, 18:49

Hosts Russia kick off World Cup in style

  • 21st FIFA World Cup™ kicks off

  • Hosts Russia in raptures

  • RUS 5-0 KSA​

DAY REPLAYED – Hosts Russia made the perfect start to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, soundly beating Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the second-highest win ever recorded in an Opening Match. Iury Gazinsky gave the Sbornaya reason to celebrate early in the game, with Denis Cheryshev doubling their advantage before half-time. The Russians embarked on a goalscoring frenzy during a second half in which Budweiser Man of the Match Cheryshev staked an early claim for goal of the tournament.

Before the match, pop star Robbie Williams performed ‘Let Me Entertain You’ in an Opening Ceremony that involved 800 people and ramped up the atmosphere inside Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium. The highlight was the presentation of the ‘galactic’ match ball kicked around by astronauts and cosmonauts on the International Space Station (ISS) between March and June this year. Several Russian artists – including opera diva Aida Garifullina on a mystical firebird – celebrated the country’s legacy of classical music by composers, including Peter Tchaikovsky.

President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin then welcomed fans from across the globe. "People here genuinely love football. We are an open, hospitable and friendly country, where our guests can find new friends."

Did you know? For the first time in World Cup history, two players – Gazinsky and Cheryshev – scored their first international goals in the Opening Match.

Tomorrow’s matches Egypt vs Uruguay - Group A, 15 June, Ekaterinburg Morocco vs IR Iran - Group B, 15 June, St. Petersburg Portugal vs Spain - Group B, 15 June, Sochi

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