Russia's rout of Saudi Arabia doesn't mean they're any good

Twitter  Peter Staunton

Twitter Peter Staunton

However, what seemed to be a class apart at the stadium amid the huge roar from the Russian fans was President Vladimir Putin's reaction at each goal.

Russian Federation welcomed the world to the World Cup on Thursday as cheerful fans streamed into Moscow and 10 other cities and President Vladimir Putin's government derided Western efforts to isolate him.

Having come into the game with no wins in seven matches, Russian Federation will now face Egypt and Uruguay without undue worries about goal difference, while Saudi Arabia manager Juan Antonio Pizzi will hope not to repeat the fate of Carlos Alberto Parreira, fired by the same team after two matches in France 98. The Villareal midfielder, already on a high thanks to a well-worked goal before half-time, struck the ball beautifully on the half-volley with the outside of his left foot, giving Saudi keeper Abdullah Al Muaiouf no chance of keeping it out.

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It is "a mix of everything", he said, adding that the company was working with Saudi sports authorities to try to have the girls attend the country's other matches.

Artistic performances from United Kingdom singer Robbie Williams and Russian operatic soprano Aida Garifullina were the highlights of the opening ceremony.

Russians didn't have to wait long for their team to score the first goal of the tournament.

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Russia, the lowest ranked team in the tournament have not won a single World Cup match since 2002.

With the five goals against the Saudis, a draw could be enough against either of its two remaining opponents.

Instead, they chose the ideal time to find their form with plenty of help from a woeful Saudi Arabia side that now must face up to the firepower of Luis Suarez, Edison Cavani and Salah.

A matchup of Group A's best sides, Uruguay would be favored under the best of conditions, but with Salah uncertain to play, the Uruguayans should win easily.

But there was a major blow for the hosts mid-way through the half as star playmaker Dzagoev limped off with a hamstring injury, to be replaced by Cheryshev.

"5-0 ... hopefully the next games will be better for our national team", said Tala, one of the assembled fans.

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