Sports

World Cup Daily by Jason Pine

World Cup Daily by Jason Pine

President Vladimir Putin, FIFA President, Gianni Infantino and all big wigs in world football are expected to assemble at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium for the ceremony that will pave way for the festival to begin.

The opening match will be held in the presence of sports leaders and officials of the countries participating in the World Cup, apart from 80,000 spectators.

Three minutes before the first-half whistle, substitute Denis Cheryshev doubled the lead, becoming the first substitute in this World Cup to score a goal.

Named flag bearers as part of a programme run by Coca-Cola, the girls, aged 13 to 17, were supposed to lead the Saudi national team onto the pitch at Moscow's Luzhniki stadium ahead of their match against Russian Federation. Golovin added the fifth from a free kick. He chipped the ball over two Saudi defenders in the 43rd minute and shot over goalkeeper Abdullah Al Muaiouf's right side to make it 2-0.

Artistic performances from United Kingdom singer Robbie Williams and Russian operatic soprano Aida Garifullina were the highlights of the opening ceremony.

Talk of a sporting boycott after Britain accused the Kremlin of using a banned nerve agent to try and kill a former Russian spy in England failed to materialise.

Tune in to Jason Pine weekday mornings from 9 on Radio Sport, for all the latest from the FIFA World Cup.

Google Doodle celebrates diverse cultures for World Cup kickoff
I'm grateful to everyone who has worked so hard to get us to this point". "Unfortunately, those assurances were not forthcoming". The 2026 tournament will be held in United States, Canada and Mexico after their joint bid beat that of Morocco on Wednesday.

The Saudi and Russian soccer teams are due to play one another in the first game of the tournament.

Warm-up losses to Italy, Germany and Peru have not made for the best preparations for the Saudis as they chase a first victory in the World Cup finals since 1994 in their first appearance in the showpiece event since 2006.

The other Group A teams Uruguay and Egypt meet Friday in Yekaterinburg.

Saudi Arabia captain Osama Hawsawi was on his guard against Golovin - and Argentine referee Nestor Pitana didn't bother to consult the video assistant despite Golovin's penalty appeal.

While Neymar, the world's most expensive player, has recovered from a broken bone in his foot in time, the strength of prolific Egypt striker Mohamed Salah's injured shoulder is less certain.

One concern for Russian Federation is that creative midfielder Alan Dzagoev picked up a suspected hamstring injury, but that was what allowed Cheryshev to come off the bench and change the game.


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