Gazinsky Scores Early As Russia Lead Saudi Arabia 1-0

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Russia has spent more than $13 billion on preparations for the big event, and President Vladimir Putin called on the team to pull themselves together as they look to progress from a section also featuring Uruguay and Egypt. Igor Akinfeev, Russia’s most recognisable player and first-choice goalkeeper for more than a decade, admits his team-mates must take the game to the opposition.

Live Updates of 2018 FIFA World Cup, Russia vs Saudi Arabia straight from Luzhniki stadium

21:10 IST: Five minutes to go and Saudi Arabia will look to gain control of the game. However, Russia, it seems, have other plans.

21:07 IST: Aleksandr Golovin makes a swift run from the right flank but the Saudi Arabia captain Osama Hawsawi was alert and tackles him tactfully in the side the penalty box. The Argentinian referee was placed placed and did not entertain any appeals.

21:02 IST: Free Kick — Saudi Arabia gets a free kick. The ball curled in is headed over the Russian goal.

21:59 IST: Salem Al-Dawsari of Saudi Arabia get the opportunity but the ball flies over the crossbar.

21:57 IST: Saudi Arabia continue to give the ball away and Russia grab the opportunities and keep counter-attacking.

20:55 IST: SUBSTITUTION —  Alan Dzagoev is walking off the field due to a hamstring injury. Denis Cheryshev comes in place of him. It is big blow to the home team.

20:47 IST: 15 minutes have been played. Russia is keeping the possession of the ball and is continuing to attack. Saudi Arabia are looking ineffective.

20:43 IST: GOAL! Yury Gazinsky scores the opening goal of Russia World Cup 2018 in the 13th minute. Hosts Russia lead 1-0. A brilliant header from Gazinsky beats the goalkeeper easily.

20:38 IST: Russia continue to attack and put pressure on Saudi Arabia.

20:34 IST: Russia gets the first corner of the match. Yuri Zhirkov swings the ball in towards the first post where it is cleared easily.

20:32 IST: Russia begins the attack from the word go. They pierce the Saudi Arabia defence in the second minute of the game but the defenders are alert and the ball is steered clear.

20:30 IST: And it begins! The opening match of the tournament gets underway as Nestor Pitana blows his whistle and Saudi Arabia kick off.

20:20 IST: Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomes everybody to Russia and Gianni Infantino expresses gratitude to Russia ahead of the first match.

20:10 IST: Robbie Williams enthralls the crowd with his famous songs “Let me entertain you”, “Feel” and “Angels”.

20:08 IST: While we wait for the match to begin, the opening ceremony is underway. You can catch all the live updates of the FIFA World Cup opening ceremony here.

20:05 IST: We are moments away from the much-anticipated tournament opener.

20:02 IST: The playing XI for both Russia and Saudi Arabia have been announced. Let us take a look.

20:00 IST: Hello and welcome to the live blog of the first match of the FIFA World Cup 2018 between Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Russia have never made the knockout stage of a World Cup as an independent nation and are desperate to make amends this summer. Only South Africa, in 2010, have fallen at the group stage as hosts but poor form combined with a series of injuries have left Russia in disarray. Saudi Arabia are returning to the global showpiece for the first time since 2006, prompting the country’s sports authority to strike a pact to send players on loan to Spain to gain experience at the top level.



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