World Cup Day 1: Putin, Robbie’s Finger & No Defending


The opening game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup had a bit of everything: five goals, Robbie Williams flipping the bird, a demonstrative Vladimir Putin and some of the worst defending you’ll ever see.

The Good

Russia: The home team blew away all concerns about opening night flops sweats, smashing five goals past the hapless Saudis.

Russian Subs: Can we call them ‘nuclear subs?’ Okay, maybe not. But both Denis Cherysev (who scored twice) and Artem Dzyuba came on as subs and scored for the hosts.

Putin The Meme Machine: We knew the Russian leader would be highly visible but how were we to know that his exchanges with FIFA boss Gianni Infantino and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman would go viral.

The Bad:

Alan Dzagoev’s hammy: The classy Russian midfielder had to be replaced early in the first half and if his hamstring cannot recover, his loss would be a big blow in the upcoming key games against Egypt and Uruguay.

The Doctor treating Dzagoev’s hammy: Looked more like a dodgy accountant or an oligarch’s assistant. What’s in that suitcase?

Martin Tyler flying solo: Love Martin, he’s the best. But surely he can’t call every game on his own can he? With no analyst next to him on Friday, he ended up filling time by rattling off obscure facts.

The Ugly:

Saudi Arabia’s defence: Let’s be honest, their attack wasn’t anything to write home to Jeddah about but their back four was sliced apart by the Russians. The second goal in particular, was pure schoolboy defending with two Saudis doing a synchronised diving routine allowing Cheryshev to find the back of the net.

Robbie Williams: His performance was fine if you like Robbie Williams but the upraised middle finger wasn’t exactly the classiest way to open a major tournament.

The Asian Confederation: That’s us unfortunately and while we can’t read too much into that Saudi performance, it’s worth remembering that the Green Falcons qualified ahead of the Socceroos in Group B.

What do you think?