Russia 5-0 Saudi Arabia: Player Ratings From the Opening Game of the 2018 World Cup

Russia got off to a blistering start in the first game of the 2018 World Cup, blowing away Saudi Arabia in a 5-0 thrashing in Moscow.


The Saudi side showed flashes of technical quality, but a lack of physicality and tactical shape shone through in the end. Russia, meanwhile, took advantage and ultimately didn't have to play all that well to win so comfortably.


Here's a look at the player ratings for both teams...

1. Russia: Goalkeeper & Defenders

Igor Akinfeev 6/10 - Happy with a clean sheet even though he to do very little to get it.


Mario Fernandes 7/10 - Got forward well to provide a real source of danger down the right flank, particularly in the first half. After half-time there was less need to.


Sergei Ignashevich 6/10 - Called out of retirement at the age of 38 to play in this tournament and was eased in. Had very little of note to deal with.


Ilya Kutepov 6/10 - Similarly untested at the back alongside Ignashevich.


Yuri Zhirkov 6/10 - Rolled back the years to get up and down at times, although he wasn't as incisive as Fernandes on the opposite flank.  

2. Russia: Midfielders

Yury Gazinskiy 6/10 - Delighted to score the first goal of the 2018 World Cup with a well placed header, but will be aware that this will be the easiest game he faces at the tournament. 


Roman Zobnin 6/10 - Got lucky that a brilliant piece of skill turned his under hit pass into Russia's second goal. Given no real trouble


Aleksandr Samedov 6/10 - Stronger in midfield than his Saudi opponents. Replaced shortly after the hour mark and will face tougher challenges in the next two games.


Aleksandr Golovin 9/10 - Supplied a perfect cross for Gazinskiy to open the scoring and then again for Dzyuba for the third. Also scored his own fine free kick. Russia's best player.


Alan Dzagoev 7/10 - Russia's brightest and most creative player in the opening stages of the game before what appeared to be a pulled hamstring forced him off after 23 minutes.  

3. Russia: Forward

Fyodor Smolov 6/10 - Led the line but Russia's most effective attacks came from elsewhere. More will be expected from him against tougher teams.  

4. Russia: Substitutes

Denis Cheryshev 8/10 - Arrived in the first half as a replacement for Dzagoev and scored a well taken Russian second goal and an even better fourth in stoppage time.


Daler Kuzyayev 6/10 - Slotted in after replacing Samedov in midfield.


Artem Dzyuba 7/10 - Given 20 minutes to make an impact and needed just one when he scored Russia's third goal. Couldn't have wished for a better introduction.  

5. Saudi Arabia: Goalkeeper & Defenders

Abdullah Al-Mayouf 4/10 - Stood little chance of stopping the goals, but was shaky on a few other moments, including spilling a second half shot that should have been an easy save. 


Mohammed Al-Breik 5/10 - Too easily floored by Cheryshev's improvisation for Russia's second goal.


Osama Hawsawi 4/10 - Generally got his foot in most of the time, but a lack of pace was horribly exposed when Russia scored a second and his performance lacked overall quality. 


Omar Hawsawi 4/10 - A little like his namesake, some well timed tackles and blocks early on often covered up more questionable positioning and distribution.


Yasser Al-Shahrani 6/10 - Eager to get forward and offered plenty of energy up and down the left flank, especially in the early stages.  

6. Saudi Arabia: Midfielders

Salman Al-Faraj 6/10 - Looked to get on the ball often and saw plenty of it as a result. Couldn't find any kind of breakthrough to make a difference.


Yahya Al-Shehri 5/10 - Despite obviously possessing technical ability, he struggled to compete physically and his impact was ultimately minimal as a result.


Abdullah Otayf 4/10 - Looked a little lost without the ball and that put too much pressure on the defenders behind him.


Taisser Al-Jassim 5/10 - A greater stretch might have clawed one back early in the second half. Didn't or couldn't get close enough to the Russians over the course of the game.


Salem Al-Dawsari 6/10 - Showed moments of quality but sometimes appeared to want too much time on the ball. If Saudi are to do anything at all in this tournament, he will be key.  

7. Saudi Arabia: Forwards

Mohammad Al-Sahlawi 4/10 - Put his team's first real chance of the game off target and the year-long international goal drought, despite scoring 16 in qualifying, continues.  

8. Saudi Arabia: Substitutes

Fahad Al-Muwallad 5/10 - Given just under half an hour to make a difference when his team were already 2-0 down and essentially out of the game.


Hatan Behebri 5/10 - Did very little after coming on, but to expect him to have done so in the circumstances is probably unfair.


Muhannad Assiri N/A - Thrown on for the last six minutes.  

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