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15 Jun 2018

Russia 5-0 Saudi Arabia: 5 things we learned as the World Cup begins

REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Hosts Russia began their World Cup campaign perfectly with a convincing 5-0 victory over Saudi Arabia, the biggest win by a host nation in the opening game since 1934.

They opened the show with a bang, scoring through Yury Gazinsky - his first goal for Russia - after 12 minutes. Denis Cheryshev doubled the lead with a thunderous near post effort just before half time, and the Saudis proceeded to collapse after the break.

Artem Dzyuba added the third minutes after coming on to the pitch, whilst two more came in added time, through Cheryshev once again and an Aleksandr Golovin free kick, who had already registered two assists.

Most pre-match discussion centred around the lack of quality in both the Russian and Saudi Arabian squads. A dull, drab affair was expected, however, the Luzhniki Stadium played host to an intriguing 5-0 hammering as the hosts proved they had the most. 

Were Russia that good? Or were Saudi Arabia that bad? Most importantly, what did we actually learn from it all?