See spectacular goal that helped Russia to a perfect start as World Cup hosts

The 2018 World Cup hosts Russia have had the perfect start to their tournament.

The Russians demolished Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the Group A opener at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, with their fourth coming courtesy of a screamer from Denis Cheryshev, his second of the game.

He latched onto the ball on the edge of the box and curled an exquisite shot around the helpless Al-Muaiouf with the outside of his left foot.

Russia included Sergei Ignashevich in their starting line-up as the World Cup hosts prepared to get the tournament underway against Saudi Arabia.

The 38-year-old was tempted out of international retirement last month following a number of injuries in Russia's back line to make his 124th appearance for his country alongside former Chelsea defender Yuri Zhirkov.

The World Cup got under way after Robbie Williams took centre stage at the opening ceremony.

The former Take That member performed four of his hits - although his controversial single 'Party Like a Russian' was not part of the set-list.

Williams dueted his hit single 'Angels' alongside Russian opera singer Aida Garifullina on stage at the Luzhniki Stadium, with former Brazil striker Ronaldo also taking part in the ceremony.

Russia president Vladimir Putin and his FIFA counterpart Gianni Infantino addressed an expectant crowd before focus turned to the football as the opening match of the tournament kicked off.

Russia made an ideal start when they took a 12th-minute lead through Yuriy Gazinsky.

There was some controversy, however, as the midfielder seemed to push Taisir Al-Jassam to the ground before steering a header home from Alexandr Golovin's left-wing cross.

Referee Pitana Nestor opted not to consult the video assistant referee system - in place for the first time at a World Cup - as the goal stood.

Russia doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time, courtesy of substitute Cheryshev.

The Villarreal midfielder, on for the injured Alan Dzagoev after 24 minutes, feigned to shoot on the left side of the area and took out two last-ditch tackles from Saudi Arabia defenders in the process.

Cheryshev then did pull the trigger, firing high beyond Saudi goalkeeper Abdullah Al-Muaiouf, to the delight of the home support.

There was more for the home crowd to cheer on 71 minutes when substitute Artem Dzyuba added a third goal within 60 seconds of his introduction.

The 6ft 5in Zenit St Petersburg striker nodded Aleksandr Golovin's right-wing cross neatly into the net moments after being brought on in place of Fedor Smolov.

Cheryshev added a fourth goal in stoppage time with his superb strike before Golovin then sealed the rout by curling a fine free-kick around the wall to make it 5-0 in the dying seconds.


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