Russia has started the 2018 FIFA World Cup with a bang.
The host nation of this year’s tournament trounced Saudi Arabia 5-0 on Thursday in Moscow to rocket to the top of Group A. Denis Cheryshev scored two goals, and Iury Gazinsky, Artem Dzyuba and Aleksandr Golovin each added one, as Russia kicked off its World Cup adventure better than home fans could have imagined.
The world waited just 12 minutes for the first goal of Russia 2018. Gazinsky did the honors, heading home Golovin’s perfect cross.
Russia playmaker Alan Dzagoev limped off in the 24th minute with an apparent hamstring injury, but his substitute, Cheryshev, alleviated fears of a larger setback by delivering a show-stopping performance.
Cheryshev’s gave Russia a 2-0 lead in the 43rd minute on his first goal, during which he beat three defenders.
Dzyuba entered the game in the 70th minute and etched his name into World Cup history less than two minutes later.
Saudi Arabia already had submitted to Russia when Cheryshev and Golovin added the exclamation points to the scoreline and highlight reals.
History will remember Cheryshev’s 93rd minute strike as the first great goal of World Cup 2018.
Golovin’s free kick one minute later wasn’t half-bad either.
The World Cup hasn’t produced such a lopsided opening game in 84 years.
Man of the match: Cheryshev
Russia will play Egypt on Tuesday, and Saudi Arabia will face Uruguay on Wednesday in their respective second games in Group A.
Thumbnail photo via Tim Groothuis/Witters Sport/USA TODAY Sports Images