This is just the beginning, says Russian Federation coach

Multi-Year Effort       Russia has been preparing for the World Cup for years              Source Russian government data

Multi-Year Effort Russia has been preparing for the World Cup for years Source Russian government data

The World Cup hosts showed nerves of steel and ruthless finishing in thumping Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the tournament's opening match before an anxious crowd of almost 80,000 in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Thursday.

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.

Putin plans to attend the opening game on Thursday between Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia at Moscow's Luzhniki stadium, which will also stage the final on July 15.

Saudi Arabia are led by coach Juan Antonio Pizzi, yet he faces an nearly impossible challenge of piecing together a team ready for World Cup action as most of his players are based in a domestic league that lacks quality. As the heir apparent, 32-year-old Prince Mohammed bin Salman, pushes forth reforms that improve the country's image overseas, he has also cracked down on women's rights defenders who have campaigned for years for greater freedoms. "I'm happy we won and happy I could help my team", said man-of-the match Cheryshev.

Another substitute, Artem Dzyuba, made it 3-0 with about 20 minutes remaining, putting the game out of Saudi Arabia's reach.

Cheryshev completed a brace with a chip shot in the added time before Golovin turned into a scorer right at the death, closing their rousing debut with a curling free kick.

Football's global governing body Fifa last week ranked the team 67th in the world, ahead of Russian Federation in 70th.

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It was a scoreline few saw coming as Russian Federation, ranked 70th and without a win in seven games, produced one of the most emphatic opening-day performances in World Cup history at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.

Egypt's coach said prolific striker Mohamed Salah is "almost 100 percent" to play in their opening match against Uruguay on Friday after he had intensive treatment on the shoulder injury he suffered playing for Liverpool against Real Madrid in the Champions League final.

Russia's celebrations were tempered by an injury to influential midfielder Alan Dzagoev.

"Several players will face a penalty".

"The opposing team really didn't have to make a huge effort to win this game", said Pizzi.

Cherchesov didn't object but politely pointed out that "he probably overlooked how much more disciplined, compact and mature we played" compared to previous games.

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