Russia Handle the Pressure and Ease to Opening Victory
There is no doubting the fact that the Russian World Cup squad were under a huge amount of pressure going into their opening game against Saudi Arabia. However, from the performance they gave, you wouldn't have thought that was the case. They played with flair and freedom to record a dominant 5-0 victory over Saudi Arabia. The victory started the World Cup with a bang, and gave the hosts exactly what they needed and a massive confidence boost ahead of their next two games, which on paper look to be tougher for them.
Those looking from a cautious point of view will point out that Saudi Arabia never threatened all game, and overall they looked very poor. However, Russia can do no more than beat what is put in front of them, and on this occasion, they did so with great ease. You don't have to look too far to find someone who thought Russia would struggle in this tournament, but with goal difference already in their favour, the Russians are in a great spot after just one game.
The hosts performing well is always good for the tournament, and any fans who weren't behind Russia ahead of their opener, certainly will be now. Their next two games will be tougher though, and this is only one game of what they hope will be many in this tournament. Next up in Group A we have the group favourites Uruguay taking on Egypt, the team most likely to challenge Russia for second spot. Perhaps the most important game of the group stages for Russia comes next, when they face Egypt on Tuesday. If they can manage to get something from that game then qualification looks to be on the agenda for them, although they shouldn't expect a game as easy as the one they had against Saudi Arabia.
This was the start the World Cup needed, and now the hosts are rolling it is time for everyone else to step up to the plate and show what they're capable of.