Russian Federation 5-0 Saudi Arabia

With President Vladimir Putin nodding approval of pregame - and especially in-game - activities, the Russian national team, ranked the lowest among the 32 entries, lifted the spirits of a pessimistic public by thumping hapless Saudi Arabia, 5-0.

But he had no issue with being left out of the line-up for the opening game by coach Stanislav Cherchesov.

Saudi Arabia had 60% of the possession but failed to make any meaningful use of it. Discussion around the appropriateness of broadcasting the 2018 world Cup in Ukraine also seems to have lost its meaning, so there is 64 matches of the most prestigious soccer tournament featuring the best teams in the world.

"We are very disappointed by the defeat", Ezzat said, according to the Al-Youm Assabaa newspaper.

The 2018 world Cup finally begins the countdown to its final part.

Veteran defender Sergei Ignashevich has been named in Russia's starting lineup for their World Cup opener with Saudi Arabia. We did everything for this team and this generation of players, everything.

There were two major highlights of the game: Cherychev's sublime control before scoring Russia's second goal and the marvelous free-kick by Golovin in the dying embers of the end.

"I think half the country will find out that we have a World Cup when the whistle blows".

Saudi Arabia - Al-Mayoof; Al-Burayk, Osama Hawsawi, Omar Hawsawi, Shahrani; Ateef, Faraj; Dawsari, Jassam, Shehri; Muwallad.

Russia, the lowest ranked side in the tournament, swamped the Asian side from the kick off and made the most of their early dominance with a fine header from Yuri Gazinksiy in the 12th minute.

Denis Cheryshev came off the bench and scored the second goal before half-time, taking advantage of slack defending with Golovin's searching pass involved again to smash in at the near post from six yards.

"Victory is a great feeling", said Pavel, a 42-year-old factory worker.

Alan Dzagoev had been at the heart of things but had to go off after pulling a hamstring in the 23rd minute.

"I could never have dreamed of anything like this".

Russia's fans will not care about that after enduring a wretched run of seven games without a win but they will be aware that the Asian qualifiers look desperately ill-equipped to trouble Egypt or group favourites Uruguay, who meet tomorrow, and that there is still much to be done for the hosts to secure progress to the knockout stage. Alsahlawi is there with Ignashevic, who's forced to head behind; the corner is rubbish, but Saudi pick up the pieces and Alsahlawi shoots hard as the ball drops and earns a further corner. They have thoroughly embraced the underdog tag and battled their way to Russian Federation and will look to make a positive impression on the world stage once again after 12 years. I think the game against Russian Federation will be very hard... Russian Federation on the other hand, have done a good job of keeping their hopes of progressing alive.

"As for our strategy, we must change".