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A Saudi Arabia fan holds a replica world cup outside the stadium before the match.

Denis Cheryshev struck twice for Russian Federation as the World Cup hosts thumped Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the opening match of the tournament in Moscow on Thursday (Jun 14).

Russian Federation were 1-0 up at the time of Dzagoev's injury after Yuri Gazinsky headed the hosts in front after 12 minutes.

Russia's win was also the biggest in a World Cup opener in 84 years since Italy's 7-1 over the United States in 1934.

It was a goal that prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to turn to the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, seated alongside Federation Internationale de Football Association chief Gianni Infantino, and shake his hand.

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

The hosts did better in the 43rd on another fast move, with the ball eventually falling to Cheryshev who rounded two defenders and smashed into the net at the near left post.

The crowd were then treated to a fabulous finale as Cheryshev cleverly rifled home an unstoppable curving fourth with the outside of his foot before Golovin capped a great personal performance by curling his free kick beyond the wall.

Russian Federation even overcame the setback of losing midfielder Alan Dzagoev to a 22nd-minute injury by scoring again through Denis Cheryshev (twice) and Artem Dzyuba to record a convincing victory.

"Senior officers were stern but the apprehending officer very helpful, friendly and polite", the campaigner said, adding he was receiving support from the British embassy.

Following a lavish opening ceremony featuring British singer Robbie Williams, Putin welcomed visiting fans and promised Russian Federation would be a "hospitable and friendly" host.

Russian authorities have insisted lesbian and gay fans should feel safe travelling to the country for the World Cup, but some LGBT supporters told AFP they had received violent threats ahead of the tournament.

"Getting arrested is standard for Russians who protest for LGBT+ rights or against corruption, economic injustice and Russia's annexation of Crimea and its bombing of civilians in Syria".

Having lost several key players to injury before the World Cup, the loss of Dzagoev to what appeared to be a hamstring pull halfway through the first half of the opening game was merely another setback for coach Cherchesov.

Saudi Arabia had 60 percent of possession and played almost twice as many passes as their hosts, but were still blown away on opening day.

Egypt and Uruguay play Friday in Yekaterinburg.

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