Saudi footballers to be penalized for heavy defeat by Russian Federation


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking at the Russian National Day reception in Jerusalem, said he had watched parts of the game, "but I am a diplomat, so I can not take sides". Substitute Denis Cheryshev rifled home a second shortly before half-time.

While no one in their right mind considered Saudi Arabia to be contenders for the trophy, Ezzat says the performance in Moscow fell well below expectation and named three players facing a "penalty" for their poor performance. "I felt very happy when I knew I would be here in the squad but I never dreamed of anything like this".

He added: "Peace is what we are most interested in".

Russia headed into the curtairaiser at the 80,000-capacity Luzhniki, the crucible of Russian and Soviet sport, without a victory in over eight months and ranked a lowly 70th in the world.

The 2018 World Cup which is the 21st edition will be played in 12 stadiums, across 11 cities, spread over 1,800 miles. One of those cheering for Saudi Arabia was Mona Mohammad, a 35-year-old who works for an oil company and was pushing her baby in a pram decorated with Saudi flags.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, has weighed in on the speculation surrounding the president's hand gestures at Thursday's match with Saudi Arabia.

Dzyuba had played only once for Russian Federation since 2016, while Cheryshev and Gazinsky made two appearances in that time. He later chipped the ball in for Russia's fourth goal in stoppage time.

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

Golovin: "For us, each game is like the last".