Crown Prince meets Putin in Moscow

Gerardo Harmon
June 16, 2018

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

As jubilation filled the streets of Moscow, following the Russia's 5-0 victory over Saudi Arabia, Jose Mourinho sounded a note of caution, while Peter Schmeichel said the margin of victory represented a "fair result".

It was Russia's first World Cup win since 2002 and ended a seven-game winless run - the national team's longest winless streak in 20 years.

Asked if there was a risk his players could get big-headed after the win, the 54-year-old said: "I don't think there's a danger of that, we know why we're here".

Curse of ITV's World Cup opening match coverage strikes again
If you've already picked up a VPN, you can easily set up an endpoint in the US, UK, or Canada and stream the coverage from there. In the US, Fox and Fox Sports 1 will cover the World Cup in English, and Telemundo and NBC Universo will have it in Spanish.

The Villareal player - one of only three members of Russia's squad to play overseas - left two defenders, Omar Hawsawi and Mohammed Alburayk, sprawled on the floor as he cut inside and struck at the near post before halftime for his first worldwide goal. Golovin added the fifth from a free kick.

The pair sang the pop star's worldwide hit "Angels".

In a World Cup first, the video assistant referee system was available for the match between the tournament's lowest-ranked teams, though it wasn't used for an official review.

Western leaders are staying away, though the likes of French President Emmanuel Macron are likely to attend later matches if their teams progress, and protests and criticism - of conflict with Ukraine or human rights abuses in Russian Federation - have been largely confined to foreign soil.

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Things won't get any easier for them either, with games against Luis Suarez's Uruguay and Mohamed Salah's Egypt to follow.

One concern for Russian Federation is that creative midfielder Alan Dzagoev picked up a suspected hamstring injury, but that was what allowed Cheryshev to come off the bench and change the game.

Provider Golovin, the youngest player in Russia's squad, turned poacher as he curled home a free-kick in injury time for Russia's coup de grace. The CSKA Moscow player was forced off in the first half with a suspected torn hamstring.

"We have been doing our job with a clear understanding of what is expected of us".

Putin congratulates Russian Federation coach after emphatic win
Russian President Vladimir Putin officially welcome the crowd inside the Luzhniki Stadium to the tournament. Two-goal hero Denis Cheryshev celebrates victory with teammates after Russia's 5-0 rout of Saudi Arabia .

Both sides looked confident at the beginning of the opening game of the global football championship, however hosts Russian Federation, backed by the thunderous roar of supporters at the home stadium, opened the score into the 15th minute of the match.

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