Russia beats Saudi Arabia 5-0 on opening day and did it in style
Russia with huge pressure to produce a positive result in their first game, especially after a disappointing Confederations Cup last summer, were able to produce big time. Russia took the lead in the 12th minute of the game after a slip from a Saudi Arabian defender, which resulted in freeing Yury Gazinsky up for an open header. Russia was the far more superior team throughout the whole game. The Russians lead 2-0 going into halftime. The third goal was scored in 71st minute by Artem Dzyuba, it only took him a minute to get on the scoresheet as he entered the game in the 70th minute. Two more goals were added in stoppage time; both of them were beautiful goals. The first goal in stoppage time happened in the 91st in open play by Denis Cheryshev and the second one in the 94th minute from a free kick by Aleksandr Golovin. This is a huge result for Russia. It gives them momentum going into their second game against Egypt, the game where second place could be decided, and the 5-0 win gives Russia a big boost for their goal difference in case it is needed if a tiebreak were to occur at the end of the group stage.
Late header gives Uruguay all three points against Egypt
Not a lot of action in the first half of this game, but things did kick up a gear in the second. The Egyptians were playing without their star player Mohamed Salah, which could be seen that the absence of Salah affected their attack. Uruguay dominated possession throughout the whole game and had most of the chances between the two sides. Luis Suarez had two golden opportunities to score in the second half and missed on both chances. This was a shock since he failed to score on not just one but two clear goal scoring opportunities, since Luis Suarez is one of the most clinical strikers in the world. In the 89th minute Edinson Cavani hits the post off a free kick, which looked to be Uruguay’s last chance at winning this match. A minute later Carlos Sanchez whips in a free kick off the side of the box and Atletico Madrid’s defender Jose Gimenez heads in the winner to give Uruguay a 1-0 victory. Uruguay had plenty of chances to score during the match, but failed to do so. Uruguay is going to have to be more clinical if they wish to go far in this tournament, cannot keep missing chance after chance and expect to win games.
Current Standings in Group A after one game:
- Russia 3 points, +5 Goal Difference
- Uruguay 3 points, +1 Goal Difference
- Egypt 0 points, -1 Goal Difference
- Saudi Arabia 0 points, -5 Goal Difference
Preview for the second games in Group A:
Russia vs Egypt June 19th 2018, Saint Petersburg, Russia
This game could decide who advances with Uruguay out of this group. Even though Russia did beat Saudi Arabia 5-0, Saudi Arabia is not exactly tough competition. Egypt will be their first true test in this World Cup; we will see how this Russian team plays against better competition in this game. If Russia is able to produce a result against Egypt, not only will they have most likely secured a place in the round of 16 but they would have silenced any doubts people had that they would not get out of the group. On the other hand Egypt will look to rebound after their heartbreaking loss against Uruguay. Good news is that they should have Mohamed Salah back for this game, which would give them a big boost especially in the attacking side. If Salah is able to return and start, I think Egypt will come away with a win against Russia.
Prediction: Egypt 2-1
Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia June 20th 2018, Rostov, Russia
Saudi Arabia came into the tournament as one of the weaker teams in the World Cup. This was shown when Russia, an average team, beat Saudi Arabia 5-0 on opening day. This match will be lopsided match in favor of Uruguay; the Uruguayans just have more talent and fire power. I expect Luis Suarez to redeem himself after his poor performance against Egypt; expect him to score a goal or two in this game. Suarez along with Edinson Cavani will have plenty of chances in this game. With both Atletico Madrid center backs, Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez, holding down the backline for Uruguay, it will be hard to see Saudi Arabia even score one goal.
Prediction: Uruguay 5-0