My favorite part of the start of the World Cup, is the opening ceremonies. The culture, the vibrancy, the music, and it absolutely sets the stage for the madness, that is the 2018 FIFA WORLD CUP Opening Match.
Next, my favorite part of any International match, The National Anthems from each country. The passion you can see from the players, and from the fans, is second to none.
Saudi Arabia begins the match with the opening kickoff, and sent the stadium into a frenzy, We have officially begun a month of the best damn sport in the world.
Opening 5 minutes set the tone for the entire first half, Russia pressing, and Saudi Arabia unable to break it down. The 4-2-3-1 Formation Russia utilized was critical in not allowing Saudi Arabia time on the ball in Midfield. Just When Saudi Arabia had put together a set of incredible touches, a misplaced back pass to Goal Keeper Al Muaiouf of Saudi Arabia, was loudly cheered by the home Russian fans. They did not have to wait long for the home team to open the scoring for their World Cup. Golovin sent in a beautiful ball that found Gazinskiy at the far post. He rose above the Saudi Arabian players, and headed home a beauty. 1-0 Russia.
Twelve minutes later, what seemed like disaster for Russia, had occurred. Midfielder Alan Dzagoev went down with an apparent injury, untouched. Always a bad sight to see. Substitution, enter Cheryshev. Adjustment from 4-2-3-1 to 4-4-2 for Russia, and as arguably their best creative midfielder was off the field, some felt dim for Russia the rest of the match. Until the 43rd minute happened, it was the substitute Cheryshev. Sent two players for hot dogs in the stands, in the process, before slamming it passed the opposing goalkeeper. Russia 2-0. Halftime could not come soon enough for Saudi Arabia.
Kickoff second half, Russia sits back a little bit more and allows more time on the ball for Saudi Arabia. It paid off as ALSAHLAWI had a chance across the front of goal. Tactical changes and other substituitions could not force anything for Saudi Arabia. They could not link enough between midfield to navigate around the defense of Russia. 70th minute enter big man up top, Artem Dzyuba, first touch one minute later, puts it in goal off an assist by Golovin. 3-0 Russia. The stadium is rocking. Saudi Arabia with majority possession and cant unlock the door to get through on goal. Russia simply kicking it down and having a party on its counter attacks. With the party, comes absolute hard work tracking back and pressing. 3 minutes added time, was not what Saudi Arabia was hoping for. As the first minute in saw Cheryshev bring Trivela mania to the 2018 World Cup, with an outside the foot shot cutting in. Incredible execution. Russia really benefiting from goal differential at this point. In the final minute of added time, Russia win a free kick on the outside of the 18. That dude, Aleksandr Golovin steps up, and hits a banger into the far right post, from the right side. 5-0. What a way to end an opening match for the World Cup.
Russia wanted it badly. Perfect execution of the Opening Match game plan by Russia. The incredible work on two assist, along with consistently track back on defense. As well as scoing an amazing free kick, man of the match is none other than young stand out, Aleksandr Golovin.
World Cup Madness has begun. You Matter.