The 10 ‘firsts’ of Russia 2018 World Cup


First goal

A Russian, appropriate for the occasion, Yuri Gazinsky, scored the first goal of Russia 2018 with a firm header past Saudi Arabia goalkeeper. The 28-year-old FK Krasnodar central midfielder got above his marker and powered a header past Abdullah Al-Mayoof on 12 minutes. The Russians would go on to score another four, making it the biggest opening day goals tally since 1934.

First goal from a substitute

This also came in the opening match from Denis Cheryshev, who plays for Villarreal, and had replaced the injured Alan Dzagoev. The left-footed player left two Saudi defenders on the deck before rifling a shot into the top right corner of Al-Mayoof’s post in the 43rd minute. Only two players have scored as a substitute in the opening match of a World Cup.

First brace

This accolade also goes to Denis Cheryshev who scored twice against Saudi Arabia in the opening match – both left-footed beauties. The first, he left two Saudi defenders gasping before belting in a screamer and the second with the outside of his left foot left the Saudi goalkeeper grasping at thin air.

First hat-trick


SGF Campaign AD

Cristiano Ronaldo announced his presence in Russia with a complete performance and three goals against Spain in their opening Group B match. The first was from the penalty spot, the second a gift from David de Gea and the third, a majestic free kick on the dot of full time.

First free-kick goal

Ronaldo also takes the prize for this one as his 89th-minute free-kick secured a share of the points for Portugal in that enthralling match. The kick, which had David De Gea rooted, was struck with power, verve, swerve and dip – it could not have been struck much better with the added consequence of time and occasion.

First yellow card

Another Russian, Aleksandr Golovin, was shown the first yellow card in the 88th minute of the opening day encounter against Saudi Arabia. Golovin went on to score his side’s fifth goal in the fourth minute of additional time.

First VAR decision

France were being throttled by Australia until the 57th minute when a goal-bound Antoine Griezmann was brought down by Josh Rishdon. The referee, Andres Cunha, from Argentina initially waved play on but after consultation with the VAR officials and personal viewing, awarded a penalty to France, taken and scored by Griezmann.

First Goal Line Technology [GLT] decision

Also in the France versus Australia encounter, Paul Pogba’s deflected effort off the underside of the crossbar was given as a goal when the watch on Andres Cunha’s wrist beeped to indicate the whole ball had crossed the line.

First own goal

Unfortunate, but Morocco’s Aziz Bouhaddouz handed all three points to Iran with a headed own goal in the 90th minute of their encounter. That has been added to by another African country, Nigeria, as Oghenekaro Etebo unwittingly diverted Mario Mandzukic’s wayward header past his goalkeeper for Croatia’s first goal.

First shock result

Iceland held a Lionel Messi-led Argentina to a 1-1 result. Argentina scored first through Sergio Aguero and it was expected to be plain sailing afterward but the Euro 2016 surprise package were back on level terms through Alfred Finnbogason four minutes later. Messi then confirmed the result with a saved penalty in the second half. Mexico followed that with a 1-0 win over defending champions Germany, and Switzerland held strong favourites, Brazil, to a 1-1 result.

Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.


NEVER MISS A THING AGAIN! Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required


Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

TEXT AD: This space is available for a Text_Ad.. Call Willie on +2347088095401 for more information

All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.