Russian Federation beat Saudi Arabia 5-0 in World Cup opener

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Even Russian President Vladimir Putin, sitting next to Federation Internationale de Football Association president Gianni Infantino and Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, found himself looking over like "hey, what can you do?" "It is left to us to be positive and start thinking about the next match", he said.

After a lavish opening ceremony and with President Vladimir Putin watching on, Yuri Gazinsky put Russian Federation ahead with a header off Alexander Golovin's cross in the 12th minute.

Russian Federation then almost grabbed a third when Abdullah Al-Muaiouf spilled a low drive from Roman Zobnin, the Saudi goalkeeper recovering just time in time to nudge the ball away from Smolov.

But Zenit St Petersburg forward Dzyuba headed the third a minute after coming on for Fedor Smolov, and the added time efforts - a great curling shot into the top corner from Cheryshev and Golovin's free kick - only further boosted the team for upcoming tasks and rallied the home fans behind them.

Artistic performances from United Kingdom singer Robbie Williams and Russian operatic soprano Aida Garifullina were the highlights of the opening ceremony. But high points for Russian athletes have been rare since the country's image was tarnished by doping, with numerous Olympic medals stripped for drug use.

Over the next month, 32 teams from six continents will be competing for the World Cup trophy.

Warm-up losses to Italy, Germany and Peru have not made for the best preparations for the Saudis as they chase a first victory in the World Cup finals since 1994 in their first appearance in the showpiece event since 2006.

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Argentina has been the world's most underachieving national team; it last won a major title in 1993. I'll be travelling to Kerala next week for the shoot of my new Malayalam movie Purple .

Veteran British LGBT rights campaigner Peter Tatchell is detained by police officers during a one-man protest to draw attention to what he said were appalling human rights abuses committed against gay men in Chechnya, in central Moscow, Russia June 14, 2018.

We have entered Federation Internationale de Football Association, so that is a big achievement for Saudi Arabia. The Saudis will face Uruguay on June 20 and then Egypt on June 25. And the Russian President's reaction to the goals galore was class apart.

Casualty ward Alan Dzagoev has been Russia's most exciting creative force of the past decade, having become its youngest ever outfield player in 2008.

Russia's bench players had their day of glory.

Dzyuba had played only once for Russian Federation since 2016, while Cheryshev and Gazinsky made two appearances in that time.

But while Juan Antonio Pizzi's team are rank outsiders at Russian Federation 2018, they could have done more to exploit the nerves and tension of the hosts inside the Luzhniki.

Golovin: "For us, each game is like the last".