Iury Gazinsky got the party started early, heading Russian Federation in front in the 12th minute before Cheryshev rifled home a second shortly before half-time. Dimitry Cherchesov's side have given themselves an excellent chance of qualifying from Group A, thanks to goals from Yuri Gazinskiy, Denis Cheryshev with two, Artem Dzyuba and Aleksandr Golovin.
Roman Zobnin sent a header over soon afterwards - but Russian Federation saved the best until last as Cheryshev swerved a glorious effort into the top corner with his right foot in added time, and there was still time for to Golovin to bend in a magnificent free kick in the closing seconds. Russian Federation 4-0 Saudi Arabia (Cheryshev) A long hump from Zhirkov picks out Dzyuba, from an offside position, nods down for Cheryshev to collect, breaking towards the box, left of centre. He flicked the ball to miss two tackles before unleashing a thunderbolt into the top left corner. The talismanic midfielder left the pitch after 24 minutes into the opener, and it seems like he's ruled out for the rest of the World Cup.
Without an enormous improvement, they could just as easily be humiliated against both Egypt and Uruguay, too. He later chipped the ball in for Russia's fourth goal in stoppage time. Russia's manager Stanislav Cherchesov surprised with a 4-5-1 formation, and he's surely satisfied with the performance, but Alan Dzagoev's hamstring injury could be a huge blow for Cherchesov's team.
Saudi briefly threatened early in the second half when an inviting cross in from the right skipped just beyond the reach of Taiseer Al-Jassam.
But his replacement, former Real Madrid winger Cheryshev, celebrated his recent recall to the national side with Russia's second goal two minutes before half-time.
Abdullah Al-Mayouf was forced to palm away two minutes later when Fedor Smolov looked to turn home Mario Fernandes' cutback from the right byline, but the ball looped up into the air after another deflection.
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Russia's 5-0 win may have been aided by the sloppiness of the Saudi Arabia team but the fact is that the hosts did what needed to be done and were more clinical than their opponents.
The scoreline perfectly sums up how this match went. The Saudis like to sleep on the field, and the weakest was a veteran of Osama, Hawsawi.
It's always good to open your tournament with a win, especially when you're the host nation and there are serious questions about your ability to make it out of the group.
Cheryshev was in a risky position on the left of the area but ran out of space when it seemed the hosts could be about to double their lead.
It proved to be the last hurrah for the visiting nation as Dzyuba scored a header on the 71st minute to extend Russia's lead to 3-0 before Cheryshev scored another goal and Golovin stole the show with the last kick of the opening game.
The 2018 World Cup is finally upon us as host country Russian Federation will take on Saudi Arabia in a Group A contest?