Host nation Russia have got their World Cup campaign off to a dream start courtesy of a 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Thursday.
Yury Gazinskiy gave a sign of things to come when he opened the scoring after 12 minutes, but it was Stanislav Cherchesov’s substitutions which made the biggest difference, with Denis Cheryshev scoring twice and Artem Dzyuba also coming off the bench to score one and create another.
Cheryshev’s second came in stoppage time before Alexandr Golovin got in on the act with a 95th-minute free kick, capping off a memorable afternoon in style for the host nation as they set an early benchmark in Group A.
The initial delivery came to nothing, but Russia kept it alive and Aleksandr Golovin’s delivery was met by Gazinskiy, who cushioned his header back across goal and into the far corner.
Roman Zobnin’s slightly underhit pass before skilfully dinking the ball past two sliding defenders and blasting his finish into the roof of the net.
Russia’s final change came with 20 minutes remaining, and it took just 89 seconds for Dzyuba to make his impact off the bench when he peeled off his man all to easily to guide Golovin’s cross into the bottom corner.