Hosts deliver perfect start after President Vladimir Putin declared the tournament open at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium
Host nation Russia made the perfect start to their World Cup campaign against Saudi Arabia in the opening match on Thursday after securing a 5-0 victory.
After President Vladimir Putin declared the tournament open at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, Iury Gazinsky scored the first goal of the tournament with a 12th minute header from Aleksandr Golovin's cross.
Russia suffered a blow when Alan Dzagoev had to leave the field with what appeared to be a pulled hamstring.
With the Saudi team increasingly stretched by Russia's attacking play, Dzagoev's replacement Denis Cheryshev smashed home a shot from short range two minutes before half-time.
Substitute Artem Dzyuba made it 3-0 in the 71st minute when he headed home with his first touch of the game and Cheryshev grabbed his second in injury time. Golovin completed the rout with a free-kick just seconds from the end.For all the latest sports news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.