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Yuri Gazinsky Scores World Cup 2018 first goal as Russia thrashes Saudi Arabia 5-0


— Russia 5-0 Saudi Arabia: World Cup hosts start the party with convincing win led by a pair of subs

— Russia made easy work of Saudi Arabia in the opening match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow

Russia comprehensively thrashed Saudi Arabia, 5-0, in the opening game of its home World Cup. Yuri Gazinsky scored on a header 12 minutes in, and afterward Saudi Arabia could offer little resistance.

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Russian players celebrate after Aleksandr Golovin’s goal in extra time

Russia’s second, third and fourth goals were all by substitutes: one by Artem Dzyuba and two by Denis Cheryshev. With time running out, Aleksandr Golovin got a fifth goal on a free kick, past a badly tired Saudi defense.

Russia scored just 12 minutes into the match thanks to a header from Yury Gazinsky, but they would need nothing more to take all three points and move atop Group A.

Saudi Arabia, a team whose players are virtually all based in their obscure home league, offered an air of mystery. But that was before the game. It became clear very quickly that they were no match for a Russian team that itself has not been a worldbeater in recent years.

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Here’s the winner from Yury Gazinsky:

Cheryshev became the first to come off the bench to score in an opening World Cup game, meaning he became the first sub to score two in an opener. Dzyuba was also a sub in this one and scored, as the team got three goals off the bench.

It’s an impressive start for the hosts who are now likely just three points away from a spot in the next round. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia needs to figure out how it is going to stop anybody. But of course, if you can’t score, you aren’t going anywhere. Consider the Saudi Arabian team a long shot to make the round of 16 with a negative-five goal differential to start the tourney.