Moscow: Saudi Arabia could not keep up with the rampant hosts as they opened their 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign with a 5-0 defeat on Thursday.
uan Antonio Pizzi's side dominated possession and passed the ball accurately throughout the match but their lack of urgency meant they could not bring the ball into the final third and failed to record a single shot on target all night.
Defensively, the Green Falcons were far from their best as they allowed Russia to physically dominate and score at will despite not spending extended spe
lls of time in the Saudi defensive third.
Lively start, no end product
The Green Falcons' return to the World Cup after 12 years saw them start sharply in the first 10 minutes despite some nervy moments. Salem Al Dawsari’s versatility saw him move from his starting position on the left flank into central areas and even occasionally switching to the right as he attempted to provide a link between the Saudi midfield and attack.
This winger completed nine passes and made one key pass inside the opening 10 minutes (see below pass map), highlighting his importance to Pizzi’s team.