Russia blanked Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the FIFA World Cup 2018 opener in Moscow and maintained the tradition of a host nation never to lose in an opening game of the tournament. Russia overcame their recent poor streak and recorded the biggest win by a host nation in an opening game of World Cup since 1934. It was a complete team effort by Russia which helped them trounce Saudi Arabia. Their midfield and defense were so compact that their opponents could not find the target even once in the entire match. With such a flawless display by Russia,Stanislav Cherchesov’s men will feel more confident ahead of tougher opponents in Egypt and Uruguay and would fancy their chances to progress to the knock out stages. Let’s have a look at the Hits and misses from the Russia versus Saudi Arabia match.
Aleksandr Golovin (Russia)– The 22 year old dominated the game from the start till the end. He dictated play from the beginning. He was a complete menace to the Saudi defense. He assisted with two goals from two brilliant crosses and scored once from an exquisite free kick. Overall he created 5 key passes with an accurate pass percentage of more than 71%. He won 7 duels in the match and had 4 tackles to his credit. Rating 9/10
Denis Cheryshev (Russia)-The fast nimble-footed former Real Madrid winger was introduced in the match to replace the injured Aleksandr Samedov. His introduction immediately added a new dimension to the Russians build up play. He scored two sumptuous goals. The last one he scored was without a doubt a world class finish. Overall he won 2 dribbles and 6 duels in the match. The found the back of the opponents net twice from his three attempts. Rating 8/10
Artem Dzyuba (Russia)-He made an immediate impact scoring the third goal from aheader after replacing Smolov. He also had one assist to his credit when his pass found Cheryshev second goal. His aerial threat was constant head ache for the Saudi defense. Out of the 20 minutes he played, he had an accurate passing rate of 88% and also had one key pass to his credit. Rating 7.5/10
Abdullah Al-Mayouf (Saudi Arabia)-The Saudi goal keeper had a nightmare in goal as he let in 5 goals. He looked extremely shaky and his distribution was awful to say the least. He had a passing rate of 41 %.He fumbled with his routine saves. Rating 4/10
Omar Hawsawi (Saudi Arabia)-He partnered his skipper in the central defense and looked jittery from the beginning. His positional play was up to the mark. The second goal resulted from his poor control over the ball which eventually Cheryshev finished. He just won 1 tackle in the entire game. Rating 3/10
Mohammed Al-Sahlawi (Saudi Arabia)-Star man Al Sahlawi was completely invisible in the match. He was bottled up by the Russian defenders. He could not hold on to the ball for his team mates to join in attacks. He didn’t register a single shot on target and neither he could dribble past a single player from the oppnent team. Rating 3/10