ITV's fancy World Cup studio is going down a storm with viewers

Posted June 15, 2018

Putin was the surprise guest of honour at FIFA's annual gathering on the eve of the World Cup, and was welcomed on stage by Gianni Infantino, the governing body's president.

After Russia scored the first goal of the tournament, president Vladimir Putin gave Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman a shrug and a handshake that was captured by cameras.

After a lavish opening ceremony and with President Vladimir Putin watching on, Yuri Gazinsky put Russian Federation ahead with a header off Alexander Golovin's cross in the 12th minute.

This time, the ceremony will focus on musical acts and will take place much closer to kick-off, ... just half an hour before the start of the opening match between Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia.

Stat chat Cheryshev became the first substitute to score in an opening World Cup game, while team-mate Artem Dzyuba did the same, heading home Russia's third just 90 seconds after coming on in the second half. Even if Trump wins re-election, his presidency would end before the 2026 World Cup.

Cheryshev showed he could be the man to fill Dzagoev's shoes with a fantastic injury-time goal, finding the top corner with a sublime shot with the outside of his left boot, before Golovin bent in a brilliant free-kick to finish the match in style.

Russian Federation made it 3-0 in the 71st minute when Golovin chipped in a cross for giant striker Dzyuba to rise and head in from close range.

Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Abdullah Almuaiouf is beaten by a free kick from Russia's Alexander Golovin in extra-time of their World Cup opener.

Hawsawi said a good start to the tournament was vital if the Saudis were to match the feat of the 1994 Falcons, who reached the round of 16 in the United States.

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. Egypt and Uruguay play on Friday (Saturday NZT) in Yekaterinburg.

Coach Juan Antonio Pizzi had earlier said that Saudi Arabia would play without fear on Thursday.