20 million Saudis set to watch World Cup opening match

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Inspired by the home crowd in the opening match of the World Cup, Russia ended a 16-year wait for victory.

Russian Federation launched the World Cup in emphatic style when they outclassed a feeble Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the tournament's opening match to end a nine-month winless run and give the host nation's team and fans the lift they desperately needed.

Yuri Gazinsky initially put Russian Federation ahead with a header from Alexander Golovin's cross when the Saudis failed to clear a corner in the 12th minute.

About half an hour into the first half, Russia's scoring midfielder Alan Dzagoyev boosted off for an offensive rush on the goal of the opponents, but fell down, obviously pulling a muscle.

His potential move to Juventus stirred excitement at home this week after years in which Europe's best clubs have lost nearly all interest in Russian talent.

Just 12 minutes into the match, the Saudi backline got caught out of place after a corner kick, leaving a wide open opportunity for Yury Gazinsky to score the opening goal of the tournament.

Cheryshev hammered in a fourth with the outside of his left in stoppage time and Golovin capped a magnificent performance by bending in a last-gasp free-kick.

Russian Federation opened their campaign in emphatic fashion, thrashing Saudi Arabia 5-0 in front of 78-thousand enraptured fans at Moscow's Luzhniki Arena. Golovin added the fifth from a free kick.

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Artem Dzyuba celebrates his goal that put Russian Federation up 3-0 in the opening game against Saudi Arabia. Substitute Denis Cheryshev rifled home a second shortly before half-time.

Typically, one-man protests are allowed, but during the World Cup, temporary rules have been introduced banning them.

Exactly 1432 days after Mario Gotze's extra time goal saw Germany lift their fourth trophy, Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia take to the field to begin another chapter in the World Cup.

And we're off! The 2018 World Cup is officially underway and, after a typically eclectic opening ceremony that featured Robbie Williams attempting to work his way back into the public eye, one finger at a time, the host nation made a fantastic start by thrashing Saudi Arabia.

It was Gazinsky's first goal of his global career.

Saudi Arabia will take the field on Thursday as lengthy +800 underdogs.

"I believe that we came into this tournament well prepared and the players were ready to show that they could play at the World Cup".

Egor Titov, ex worldwide: "We must do well in the first two games not to let everything depend on the last one".

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