Saudi Arabia players face 'penalty' after disastrous World Cup defeat

Lewis Collier
June 18, 2018

Minutes before Saudi Arabia kicked off the tournament against host nation Russia, Putin said: "I congratulate all of you at the start of the most important championship in the world".

- AFP Russian soprano Aida Garifullina performs during the Opening Ceremony - AFP Performers take part in the ceremony before the Russia 2018 World Cup Group A football match between Russia and Saudi Arabia.

But fear not, for that endurance test was followed in 1990 by one of the most astonishing games in World Cup history, Cameroon's 1-0 victory over holders Argentina at San Siro by virtue of Francois Omam-Biyik's victor and such extraordinary reckless tackling and conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm that left several world champions sporting saucer-sized bruises and two Cameroon players with red cards.

Russian worldwide Aleksandr Golovin said that his side's World Cup Group A opponents Egypt and Uruguay are strong teams. Gazinsky charged forward to meet the ball as Saudi player Taisir Al-Jassam stumbled, leaving him a simple finish.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud and Federation Internationale de Football Association president Gianni Infantino attended the opener along with further dignitaries and heads of state - but none from Western European or North American countries. Putin then reached over to shake the prince's hand.

Cheryshev scored a stunning goal with the outside of his left foot in time added on and Golovin sealed the rout with a goal direct from a free-kick.

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

For the time in World Cup history, there will be Video assistant referees to help make officiating calls.

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Two-goal hero Denis Cheryshev celebrates victory with teammates after Russia's 5-0 rout of Saudi Arabia.

But with the five goals against the Saudis, a draw could be enough against either of its two remaining opponents.

He later tweeted that the Foreign Ministry "congratulates all teams playing in #2018WorldCup", specifically mentioning openers Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation.

Saudi Arabia's route to the knockout round is much more hard.

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.

The Group B match in Sochi is at Fisht Olympic Stadium, the first World Cup game to be played at the venue.

He said: "These players have made my face go black with embarrassment and fury".

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