News Article

FIFA

Talking Points: Russian heroes rise to big stage as lack of experience costs Saudis

Written by: Neelav Chakravarti

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The hosts made extensive and good use of the wide areas to thump the Green Falcons in the tournament opener.

Hosts Russia kicked-off their 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign with a win against Saudi Arabia on home soil. Held at the Luzhniki Stadium, the opening match ended 5-0 in favor of the host nation. Yury Gazinsky scored the opener, followed by Denis Cheryshev in the first half. The second 45 consisted of goals from Artem Dzyuba, Cheryshev, and Aleksandr Golovin.

In this article, we are going to talk about the five talking points from the match between Russia and Saudi Arabia.

5. Saudi Arabia need to be defensively aware

The Green Falcons seemed to be pretty weak defensively against a physical side like Russia.

Although, the Asian team had more possession in the first half, the hosts still managed to score two goals past a mismanaged and hapless defense. The second half went even more badly with three goals conceded.

4. Russia will miss Alan Dzagoev

The CSKA Moscow midfielder is arguably the most talented player in the Russian team right now. His injury, which is probably a torn muscle will cost the team a lot, especially in moments when they need someone to make something happen.

Although, his replacement, Cheryshev scored the second and fourth goal past a confused defense, the former Real Madrid ace is more of a wide player and not a creative central midfielder.

3. Cheryshev and Dzyuba proved to be the trump cards, with Golovin taking up the talisman's role

The Villarreal left winger proved his determination and grit with a brace. His second goal was a stunner, sending the stadium into raptures. Substitute Dzyuba also proved to be a trump card along with his teammate, with a crucial headed goal. 

Home support might just take the hosts to the knockout stages. The natives seemed to be behind their players right from the start. The crowd had fantastic spirit, which will hopefully be carried till the last match. Experience also seemed to help them against Saudi Arabia.


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2. The hosts need to be better with the ball

The Igor Akinfeev-led team needs to be better when in possession. Their midfield usually found it tough to keep the ball among themselves.

Russia lost the ball a lot in the opposition half, usually running out of ideas in the penalty area.

1. Saudi Arabia lacked an end product

With more possession for the most part of the game,  the Saudis seemed to be pretty comfortable when in the middle of the park.

The Asian team created some chances, but couldn't supply end product with the likes of Mohammad Al Sahlawai lacking confidence. The lack of experience in European leagues also cost the Arabs on the big stage.

The hosts will play Uruguay in their next match. While Saudi Arabia take on Egypt

Published: Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:19 AM IST

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