Saudis to hold players ‘accountable’ for World Cup drubbing

Doug Mendoza
June 16, 2018

Gazinsky charged forward to meet the ball as Saudi player Taisir Al-Jassam stumbled, leaving him a simple finish.

Their opponents on the day, Saudi Arabia had not fared any better as they also lost three of their warm-up matches coming into the opening fixture of the 2018 World Cup.

Millions of Russians have listened to and laughed at a song deriding their football team as "shit", but the side's 5-0 thumping of Saudi Arabia in the World Cup's opening game on Thursday has suddenly filled them with pride and hope. The match started after a brief but visually stunning opening ceremony. But with the five goals against the Saudis, a draw could be enough against either of their two remaining opponents.

Russia's fans will not care about that after enduring a wretched run of seven games without a win but they will be aware that the Asian qualifiers look desperately ill-equipped to trouble Egypt or group favourites Uruguay.

Aziz Bouhaddouz of Morocco scored an own goal (95') deep into stoppage time to give Iran the win.

Looking for inspiration to keep their World Cup adventure safe from early humiliation, Saudi Arabia made a compact defensive bloc during the first half and sought an equalizer.

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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.

The fact that two of the world's best players, Portuguese centre-forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentine playmaker Lionel Messi have not yet won the cup for their respective countries - despite the duo dominating the attractive game virtually unopposed - has captured the minds of spectators from around the world.

Golovin bagged two assists and scored a stunning 94th-minute free kick and Arsenal fans were demanding that Unai Emery's revives the club's interest in the youngster.

"I watched Egypt's game against Uruguay". And the third goal was an illustration of that: Russian Federation is most lethal when it is allowed time to send in crosses from its constantly inspired men on the flanks.

A Russian and Saudi supporter pose with a replica of the World Cup trophy.

Other reports by GizPress

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