England coach Southgate: Egypt and Saudi Arabia pose threat to Russian Federation

Tyler Owen
June 15, 2018

Russia ended a 16-year wait for victory in the tournament by routing Saudi Arabia 5-0 Thursday in Group A, with the Russian president watching from the VIP box alongside Federation Internationale de Football Association president Gianni Infantino and the Saudi crown prince.

Following his release a short time after his arrest, Mr Tatchell tweeted he had been, "charged with violating Federal Law 54 & Presidential Decree 202, which prohibit all protests near the Kremlin & during World Cup".

The duo are the first subs to ever score in a World Cup opener, according to statisticians Opta.

As the game wore on Saudi Arabia settled down and Al Sahlawi almost got on the end of an inviting cross but Russian Federation cleared for a corner.

After an opening ceremony which included British pop icon Robbie Williams, it took just 12 minutes for the tournament's first goal, with Gazinsky opening his global account with a well-taken header across goal.

Cheryshev, who himself suffered an injury-plagued season, doubled Russia's lead 20 minutes later with a skill that left two Saudi players on the ground, and an emphatic left-foot shot into the roof of the net.

It has been a whirlwind couple of days for Spain and their new boss Fernando Hierro as they travelled to Sochi on Thursday ahead of their Friday night clash with Portugal.

Pizzi was appointed to the job after Saudi Arabia qualified past year for the finals.

Russia to win first World Cup match, says clairvoyant cat

"Uruguay have a big history, but Egypt and Saudi Arabia are strong as well", he added.

Russia's players were significantly taller and heavier than the Saudis, a help when challenging for the ball and when the penalty area was crowded. And the Russian President's reaction to the goals galore was class apart.

The home side continued to dominate the game but were dealt a cruel blow as striker Alan Dzagoev pulled up clutching his hamstring - and had to be replaced by Denis Cheryshev in the 24th minute.

On the day of the curtainraiser, Russian Federation freed the main opposition figure to Putin, Alexei Navalny, from jail after he served a 30-day sentence for organising an illegal protest.

Tunde Aderibigbe, head of protocol for Nigeria's football federation, said he believed the Russian government had done its best to deal with the issue of racism.

The British Embassy to Russian Federation said it was "urgently investigating the arrest of a British National in Moscow", without providing details.

Now at their peak, some analysts say this is the pair's last chance at claiming the title and with it a spot amongst football's greatest names.

Saudi coach Juan Antonio Pizzi: "We were not doing what we wanted to do".

Dennis Rodman arrives in Singapore ahead of Trump-Kim summit
Kim was heard telling Trump through a translator: "I think the entire world is watching this moment". Kim said there would be a "major change" in the world.

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