Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

United North American bid awarded 2026 FIFA World Cup over Morocco

United North American bid awarded 2026 FIFA World Cup over Morocco

They'll certainly be hoping they can get a similar level of support during the tournament - all be it for their style of football than their fashion sense - as they open their World Cup campaign against Morocco on Friday.

Substitute Denis Cheryshev scored two goals on Thursday (Friday NZ Time) to lead the host nation over Saudi Arabia 5-0 in Group A with President Vladimir Putin watching from the stands alongside Federation Internationale de Football Association president Gianni Infantino.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup officially kicked off on Thursday with host nation Russian Federation beating Saudi Arabia five goals to none.

Russian Federation looked more purposeful from the start as they poured into the vast spaces on both flanks and it was no surprise when they opened the scoring after 12 minutes as Gazinsky was left unmarked to nod home Golovin's deep left-wing cross.

For Saudi Arabia it was a return to the global showpiece for the first time in 12 years, with their only previous finals wins at the 1994 World Cup.

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Gazinskiy headed in Golovin's cross to score the first goal of the 2018 event, with Dzagoev's replacement Cheryshev lashing in the second before the interval. Golovin added the fifth from a free kick. An opening ceremony before the match will feature Will Smith singing Live It Up, the official anthem of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

There was a dazzling on-pitch light show to accompany Williams and opera star Garifullina, with performers dressed in the colors of each of the 32 World Cup teams bopping to the music.

Golovin is the young star of this Russian Federation team, and the CSKA midfielder was impressive against the Saudis, but Dzagoev's class and experience will be a key loss if he fails to recover in time for the remaining Group A games against Egypt and Uruguay. Egypt and Uruguay play on Friday (Saturday NZT) in Yekaterinburg.

Russia's players were significantly taller and heavier than the Saudis, a help when challenging for the ball and when the penalty area was crowded.

Saudi coach Juan Antonio Pizzi made a change after 63 minutes, bringing winger Fahad Al Muwallad on for midfielder Abdullah Otayf, and Russia's Stanislav Cherchesov replaced Aleksandr Samedov with Daler Kuzyaev soon afterwards.

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