Russian Federation 5 Saudi Arabia 0

Enlarge this image

Enlarge this image

Russia's first-ever FIFA World Cup will get underway at 6:00 p.m. local time (15:00 GMT) later on Thursday with the match between the hosts and Saudi Arabia at Moscow's 81,000-seater Luzhniki Stadium.

Russian Federation looked more purposeful from the start as they poured into the vast spaces on both flanks and it was no surprise when they opened the scoring after 12 minutes as Gazinsky was left unmarked to nod home Golovin's deep left-wing cross.

Iury Gazinsky opened the scoring before Man of the Match Cheryshev and Dzyuba also found the net, and Cheryshev and Alexandr Golovin struck in stoppage-time to help Russian Federation end a winless run of seven games and make sure they have a chance to advance into the knock-out stages.

It was the host nation's first World Cup win since 2002, and it raises the hope that Russian Federation can get past the group stage for the first time since the Soviet era.

Putin told the 80,000-strong crowd at the Luzhniki Stadium before the match kicked off: "I congratulate all of you at the start of the most important championship in the world".

The forward was soon replaced by Dzyuba, who struck nearly immediately by heading another Golovin cross beyond a helpless Muaiouf in the 71st minute.

Salman Al Faraj headed a decent chance over the crossbar as Saudi Arabia sought a reply after the interval.

However, there was a blow for Russian Federation mid-way through the first half as star playmaker Alan Dzagoev limped off.

"Raising Russia's brand value with a welcoming, peaceful, and fun sporting event" may help provide a longer lasting effect from hosting the World Cup, analysts at UBS Group AG said in a report in May.

After the show, the tournament's trophy will be revealed by Brazil's two-time World Cup champion Ronaldo just before the official kick off of the opening match.

Egypt and Uruguay are due to play the second Group A match in Yekaterinburg on Friday.

Many spoke of their disappointment at Russia's resounding victory - but others looked forward to the team's upcoming games against Uruguay and Egypt.

Saudi Arabia sent some players to the Spanish league for experience this season but they didn't get much playing time while there.

Rampant Russia pummel Saudi Arabia 5-0 in Fifa World Cup opener
'Aquaman' photos give new looks at Aquaman, Mera, Ocean Master, and more