Friday, 15 February, 2019

Russian president Vladimir Putin promises 'unforgettable and vibrant' World Cup

A general view of the Ritz Carlton hotel in the Saudi capital Riyadh A general view of the Ritz Carlton hotel in the Saudi capital Riyadh
Melinda Barton | 16 June, 2018, 11:19

Russia ended a 16-year wait for victory in the tournament by routing Saudi Arabia 5-0 Thursday in Group A, with the Russian president watching from the VIP box alongside Federation Internationale de Football Association president Gianni Infantino and the Saudi crown prince.

In its statement on Friday FIFA said: 'FIFA is aware that a pirate channel named BeoutQ has illegally distributed the opening matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in the Mena (Middle East and North Africa) region.

Another RT expert, Denmark goalkeeping legend Peter Schmeichel, praised himself for predicting that the score could end up being 5-0 at half time, when Russian Federation was leading only by two.

"Egypt is better than Saudi Arabia, and Uruguay is better than Egypt", the Manchester United manager said in reference to the next Group A opponents Russian Federation will face.

Russian Federation looked more purposeful from the start as they poured into the vast spaces on both flanks and it was no surprise when they opened the scoring after 12 minutes as Gazinsky was left unmarked to nod home Golovin's deep left-wing cross.

Assisted by Russian midfielder Alexander Golovin, his teammate Yury Gazinsky put a header into the left upper corner of the net behind Saudi Arabian goalkeeper Abdullah Almuaiouf to put the score at 1-0.

Alan Dzagoev's injury paved the way for the entry of Denis Cheryshev, who beat three defenders inside the box then fired from a tight angle to double the cushion shortly before halftime.

But it was his second strike in the game's closing minutes which took the breath away.

On the day of the curtainraiser, Russian Federation freed the main opposition figure to Putin, Alexei Navalny, from jail after he served a 30-day sentence for organising an illegal protest. It had all seemed too easy for the hosts.

Tom Keaveny, beIN Managing Director for Mena, said: "The pirated signal is being transmitted by the Riyadh-based satellite provider Arabsat, whose largest shareholder is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia".

Russia's Artem Dzyuba celebrates scoring their third goal with coach Stanislav Cherchesov. Despite the absence of the China team at the tournament, Chinese fans are demonstrating "unprecedented football enthusiasm", Xinhua News Agency reported.

The Saudi Arabia national football team could be in trouble following a disastrous start to the 2018 Fifa World Cup on Thursday evening in Moscow, Russia.