A five-star performance from Russia saw the hosts open the World Cup in real style with a resounding win over Saudi Arabia.
Goals from Lury Gazinsky, Artem Dzyuba, a free kick from Aleksandar Golovin and a magnificent brace from Denis Cherysev gave the host nation the perfect start to their campaign.
Saudi Arabia showed real eagerness to get the ball down and play throughout the game, which would ultimarely contribute to their demise.
The men in green had their first venture up the field in the sixth minute when Omar Hawsawi drove forward before supplying the ball to Mohammad Al-Sahlawi, who saw his shot blocked.
Russia countered through Fedor Smolov as he cut the ball back towards Aleksandar Samedov but Yashir Al-Sharani made a goal-saving challenge amid cries from the home support for a penalty kick.
Ex-Chelsea player Yuri Zhirkov had a left-footed shot deflected away for a corner. The resulting set-piece saw the ball cleared but only as far as Golovin.
He sent a delightful ball towards the back-post which was met by the head of Yuri Gazinsky, who guided the ball into the bottom left corner of the net for the first goal of the 2018 World Cup.
Two minutes before the break Stanislav Cherchesov’s side doubled their advantage with substitute Denis Cherysev scoring his first international goal.
Golovin slipped the ball to Cherysev, who showed real skill to leave two Saudi defenders on the floor before blasting into the top left-hand corner of the net.
Cherchesov sprung 6'5 striker Artem Dzyuba from the bench with 20 minutes remaining and he made an immediate impact.
Fifty seconds after coming on Dzyuba scored with his first touch, heading Aleksandar Golovin’s cross into the bottom left corner of the net.
Russia were cruising with a 3-0 lead as they continued to assert their dominance. Roman Zobin headed over the top after Aleksandar Golovin chipped in an inviting ball from the right.
One minute into injury time Cherysev produced a moment of magic.
Golovin took a wonderful touch at the edge of the box to set up Cherysev who curled spectacularly with the outside of his left boot into the top corner.
The scoring wasn’t over yet as Russia won a free just outside the box, which appeared perfect for a left-footer.
Instead, the right-footed Aleksandar Golovin stepped up and managed to lift the ball over the wall and back down before landing into the net to sealing a 5-0 win for the Russians.
Russia: Igor Akinfeev; Mario Fernandes, IIya Kutepov, Sergey Ignashevich, Yuri Zhirkov; Yuri Gazinsky, Roman Zobin; Aleksandar Samedov (Daler Kuzyayer 64), Alan Dzagoev (Denis Cherysev 24), Aleksandar Golovin; Fedor Smolov (Artem Dzyuba 70).
Subs not Used: Aleksandr Erokhin, Vladimir Gabulov, Vladmir Granat, Fedor Kudryashov, Andrey Lunev, Aleksey Miranchuk, Anton Miranchuk, Andrey Semenov, Igor Smolnikov.
Yellow Cards: Aleksandar Golovin (88).
Saudi Arabia: Abdullah Al Muaiouf; Al Burayk Mohammed, Osama Hawsawi, Omar Hawsawi, Yashir Al Sharani; Abdullah Otayf (Fahad Al Muwallad 64); Salem Al Dawsari, Salman Al Faraj, Taisir Al Jassim, Yehya Al Sheri (Hattan Sultan Babhir 74); Mohammad Al Sahlawi (Muhannad Asiri 84).
Subs Not Used: Ali Albulayhi, Mansour Al Harbi, Abdullah Al Khaibari, Abdulmalek Al Khaibri, Hussein Al Moghawi, Yasser Al Mosailem, Motaz Hawsawi, Mohammad Kanu.
Yellow Cards: None.
Referee: Nestor Pitana (Argentina).
Stadium: Luzhniki Stadium (Moscow).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Aleksandar Golovin (Russia).