The biggest event of the sports and football industry has finally commenced; the FIFA World Cup 2018 was launched with a home match between Russia and Saudi Arabia last June 14. The opening match launched with the host country Russia scoring 5-0 against KSA or Saudi Arabia. The last time Russia won the World Cup was back in 2002, against Tunisia in Kobe, 16 years ago.
Russia has made it a point to score the second biggest victory by a host nation in their opening World Cup match. They follow Italy who scored 7-1 in an opening World Cup host match back in 1934. The host country for the World Cup this year has definitely started strong and has created a state of disbelief among its locals and international rivals.
The national team of Russia has been known to have quite the poor form in performance and delivery of their game. The players and the coaching staff themselves were petrified of looking like a fool and embarrassing Mother Russia since they are the host of this year’s FIFA World Cup. With the winning sweep of 5-0, it was safe to say that locals were actually saying to themselves “can we actually win this?”
Starting Strong for Russia’s Home Court Advantage
This opening match has definitely shown the way modern football has evolved and despite the reluctance, being in among the money is what it seems to be all about. As the game transpired, the president of FIFA sat high above the Luzhniki Stadium where all the football and sports elites were positioned.
Opposing sides of the stadium sat the royals of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the notorious president of Russia, Vladimir Putin. The power players of the oil business seated on opposite sides with a FIFA game in between to fuel their interests in all aspects; a rather risqué metaphor in retrospect.
Starting strong is great and all but finishing strong and establishing a solid follow thru are some things Russia will have to figure out to achieve. That’s the issue with starter games, no one yet knows par.
Saudi Arabia was Useless and Russia Took Full Advantage
The delivery of Saudi Arabia’s dynamic was rather sloppy and poorly executed. The first goal made by Yuri Gazinsky proves that his homegrown skill as a defensive midfield player carried onto the field, but with Aleksandr Golovin castoff the ball secondhand, Gazinsky was able to jump off his marker.
There was footage that did come out suggesting a loss of footing, rather than a push. This aggressive execution got Russia to start strong, clearly marking their territory; essentially owning Saudi Arabia and proving that the team was rather quite inadequate.
A notable goal for the night brought to the stadium by Denis Cheryshev with his second goal for the match, highlighted the gulf in class. The 27-year-old left winger lightly approached the area unguarded, with no one in his path or peripherals prior to executing a precise far corner kick.
The due credit, of course, goes to Aleksandr Golovin who was the most notable player of the night, pulled off a curling free-kick out of reach of the Saudi Arabia’s goalkeeper Abdullah Almuaiouf. The night ended in a great big festivity with giant smiles and full hearts, with the cup’s first lap of honor.
With Egypt’s Mo Salah finally stirring clear off injuries, he is finally ready to dive back into intensified World Cup action. Can Russia handle the heat? We have yet to see. Russia will be playing against Egypt on Tuesday, June 19.