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Saudi Arabia poster put up by Muneer

Saudi Arabia poster put up by Muneer

Gazinskiy headed in Golovin's cross to score the first goal of the 2018 event, with Dzagoev's replacement Cheryshev lashing in the second before the interval.

Russian president Vladimir Putin has promised an "unforgettable and vibrant tournament" ahead of Russia's World Cup opener against Saudi Arabia on Thursday.

Usually referred to as just the World Cup, the tournament is the biggest sporting competition on the planet.

Putin and Infantino smiled and shrugged as they sat next to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the VIP box.

Russian Federation launched the World Cup party in spectacular style when they thrashed a feeble Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the tournament's opening match on Thursday to give the host nation the lift they desperately needed after a nine-month winless run. Substitute Denis Cheryshev scored twice - the first after a piece of skill that would have graced a Lionel Messi highlights reel - and the second a superb shot in stoppage time. Golovin added the fifth from a free kick.

Hawsawi said a good start to the tournament was vital if the Saudis were to match the feat of the 1994 Falcons, who reached the round of 16 in the United States.

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In a departure from what has become the norm for opening ceremonies, this year's inauguration was shorter and less flamboyant than what many would have expected, lasting some 30 minutes and featuring British pop star Robbie Williams as the celebration's highlight.

After the show, the tournament's trophy will be revealed by Brazil's two-time World Cup champion Ronaldo just before the official kick off of the opening match.

Saudi Arabia's route to the knockout round is much more hard.

The other Group A teams Uruguay and Egypt meet Friday in Yekaterinburg.

Saudi coach Juan Antonio Pizzi made a change after 63 minutes, bringing winger Fahad Al Muwallad on for midfielder Abdullah Otayf, and Russia's Stanislav Cherchesov replaced Aleksandr Samedov with Daler Kuzyaev soon afterwards.

Russian Federation lost Dzagoev to a hamstring injury midway through the first half, the CSKA Moscow midfielder clutching his hamstring as he crumpled to the turf.

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