Putin jokes with Saudi Crown Prince during Moscow meeting

Putin jokes with Saudi Crown Prince during Moscow meeting

But on Friday morning, the nation was in jovial mood with Sports.ru declaring the team 'played like Atletico Madrid'.

The 22-year-old CSKA Moscow star was Russia's poster boy going into the World Cup and produced an outstanding performance in the opening match of the tournament on Thursday evening.

Host nation Russian Federation opened their 2018 world cup account with a five-nil thrashing of Saudi Arabia on Thursday.

In a match-up of two predominantly domestically-based squads that play on different continents, with opening game jitters to take into account, even the Russian media stuck a cautious tone in advance. But their hopes were soon dashed by an early goal at the 12 minute, with Yuri Gazinsky transforming Russia's first shot on target into a phenomenally clinical header.

Saudi managed to keep the deficit to two goals for nearly the first half-hour of the second half, but Golovin was again the architect as he angled another cross, this time from the right, and Dzyuba made it 3-0.

Artem Dzuyba netted a third before late efforts from Denis Cheryshev (who scored twice) and Aleksandr Golovin wrapped up Russia's first win since October to launch their Group A campaign in style.


Russia's next match, on June 19, is against Egypt, a game many Russian pundits expect to be much tougher.

Juan Antonio Pizzi endeavoured to make changes and give his minnows a shot at redemption, but Saudi Arabia visibly exhausted and looked lacklustre in attempting to craft opportunities in the final third.

"They (the team) represent our state", Milonov told Komsomolskaya Pravda.

Dzagoev pulled up with an injury midway through the first half and was substituted in the 24th minute.

Asked about the rumours linking him with Juve after Russia's victory, Golovin told ANSA: 'For now I want to focus on the World Cup and Russian Federation. "I trust in our plans and I trust in my players and I trust we'll have a better performance in our next game", he said at the post-match news conference. However, he changed it to "Most of them fleece me/I did this for free" and gave the finger.

Some famous faces will be among Panama's travelling support for their World Cup debut against Belgium in Sochi on Monday.

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