Russia vs Saudi Arabia (LIVE UPDATES): Lowly ranked host kick-start World Cup

Russia National team 2018
Russia National team 2018

The stage is set for the opening match of the 2018 World Cup as hosts Russia take on Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

Russia come into their own tournament as the lowest-ranked team and without a win in seven matches and are looking to reach the knockout rounds for the first time since the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, are just three places above Russia in the FIFA rankings and have lost their last three matches in the buildup to the biggest stage in football.

No hosts have ever lost the opening game of the tournament but the Saudis beat Russia 4-2 in their last meeting

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Kick off is 4 p.m.

SAUDI ARABIA STARTING XI: Al-Maiouf; Alburayk, Os.Hawsawi, Om. Hawsawi, Al-Shahrani; Otayf, Al-Dawsari, Al-Faraj, Al-Jassam; Al-Shehri, Al-Sahlawi

RUSSIA STARTING XI: Akinfeev; Mario Fernandes, Kutepov, Ignashevich, Zhirkov; Gazinskiy, Zobnin, Dzagoev, Samedov, Golovin; Smolov

Scorers of FIFA World Cup opening goals from 1990-2014

1990 – Biyik – Cameroon

1994 – Klinsmann – Germany

1998 – Sampaio – Brazil

2002 – Diop – Senegal

2006 – Lahm – Germany

2010 – Tshabalala – South Africa

2014 – Marcelo (own goal) – Brazil

British Singer; Robbie Willams gets the opening ceremony on with an electric performance #RUSKSA

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the fans at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

The Russian President gets a thunderous from the capacity crowd as he ends his short address

The FIFA President takes to the podium to also make is opening remarks

Now time for action after the speeches… the Saudi Arabia national anthem rendered and then that of Russia

Kick off

The first throwing of the World Cup goes to Saudi Arabia

Russia gets the first corner kick but dealt with nicely by the Saudi defense

Fedor Smolov is penalised for pushing Mohammed Al Buray

Saudi Arabia probing the Russian defense, they make an appeal for a foul.. but waved away by the referee

Russia get a throw-in near the Saudi box

So far, Saudi Arabia have enjoyed better possession 64% compared to Russia’s 36%

GOALLLL: Russia in front

Yuri Gazinski with the opening goal of the World Cup and for Russia

CHANCE!!! Russia almost get a second but the Saudi keeper makes a crucial save

Free kick to Saudi Arabia as Mohammed Al Burayk is down injured and receives medical treatment on the field.

The game is restarted

Russia launching more of the attack from the right side of the Saudi defense

Corner kick for Saudi after they are denied by the Russian defence

Injury blow for Russia

Fear hamstring injury for Alan Dzagoev

Russia makes a forced substitution as Alan Dzagoev is pulled off for Denis Cheryshev.

The host still have a lone goal advantage

Ball possession: Russia: 53%, Saudi Arabia: 47%.

Russia’ Aleksandr Golovin goes down in the box but referee says no penalty

GOALLLL.. Russia double their advantage

Denis Cheryshev with the goal!

Roman Zobnin provided the assist for the goal.

Two minutes added time

HALFTIME: Russia 2-0 Saudi Arabia

Maiden goals by Yuri Gazinskiy and Denis Cheryshev give the hosts a dream start

second half back underway

No side has ever come back from two goals down to win an opening match of the World Cup so the Saudis have a mountain to climb here in Moscow

CLOSE!! Saudi Arabia with their best chance so far but could not bury the ball in the net

SUB by Russia: Aleksandr Samedov leaves the field, replaced by Daler Kuzyaev

SUB by Saudi Arabia: Abdullah Otayf is off and replaced by Fahad Al-Muwallad

It’s been Russia all the way and they almost get a third but brave goalkeeping by the Saudi goalkeeper denies the hosts a third goal

GOALLLL: Russia makes it three

Artem Dzyuba makes an instant impact or the host after coming in barely two minutes ago

Dzyuba has set the record of being the first player ever to come off the bench and score in the opening match of the World Cup

It has been a ‘clean’ game so far… No bookings so far for both teams

Daler Kuzyaev goes for goal, but his effort was never close to hitting the targett

Quite surprising Ball possession: Russia: 39%, Saudi Arabia: 61%

Finally, the first booking goes to Russia’s Aleksandr Golovin… The last time an opening day World Cup match failed to record any booking was almost 40 years ago!

GOALLL: Russia get one more in !!!

Denis Cheryshev with the goal!

ANOTHER GOAL: Russia make it five with a sumptuous free kick

Final Score Russia 5-0 Saudi Arabia

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