FIFA World Cup 2018: How Russia routed Saudi Arabia - A statistical overview
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FIFA World Cup 2018: How Russia routed Saudi Arabia - A statistical overview

Russia kicked off their FIFA World Cup 2018 campaign in style on Thursday, thumping Saudi Arabia 5-0 in front of an ecstatic crowd in Moscow after President Vladimir Putin officially opened the tournament.

football Updated: Jun 15, 2018 23:39 IST
FIFA World Cup 2018,Russia vs Saudi Arabia,Russia vs Saudi Arabia statistics
Denis Cheryshev scored twice as Russia thumped Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the opening match of FIFA World Cup 2018.(REUTERS)

Russia drubbed Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the opening match of the FIFA World Cup 2018. Here’s a look at some statistics of note from the encounter -

Saudi Arabia actually had more possession

If you look at the stats, Saudi Arabia actually had more ball possession: 60% to Russia’s 40%. They even had more passes: 511 passes to Russia’s 306. But when it comes to the stats that count – Russia had 7 shots on target with 5 of them resulting in goals. Saudi Arabia had no shots on target at all. Russia also seemed more determined to break up Saudi Arabia’s play, committing 22 fouls to Saudi Arabia’s 10.

Golovin a rising star, Cheryshev a falling one
Russian player Golovin had his breakout season in 2017/18, Cheryshev had his a few years ago
2015/16 23 3 0
2016/17 37 3 4
2017/18 43 7 6

Golovin a rising star, Cheryshev not so much

The two stand-out performers from yesterday’s match were the Russian creative players Denis Cheryshev and Aleksandr Golovin. Cheryshev had two goals and an assist while Golovin had two assists and a goal.

But if you look at their club careers, Golovin’s career seems to be on an upward trajectory while Cheryshev’s seems to be on a decline. The 22-year-old Golovin has played with Russian club CSKA Moscow throughout his career and last season was his breakout one. He scored seven goals and made six assists for the Russian club in 43 matches.

Russia's midfielder Aleksandr Golovin controls the ball during the FIFA World Cup 2018 match against Saudi Arabia. (AFP)

The 27-year-old Cheryshev had his breakout season while on loan at the Spanish club Villarreal in 2014/15 when he scored 7 goals and made 10 assists. Cheryshev started out as a Real Madrid player, even playing with their youth teams, but his career seems to have stalled since that loan season with Villarreal.

Cheryshev’s goals and assists record in club football
Denis Cheryshev, compared to his Russian teammate Golovin, head his breakout season a few years ago and his progress seems to have stalled.
2014/15 40 7 10
2015/16 17 4 1
2016/17 18 0 2
2017/18 32 4 3

Dzyuba one of the tallest forwards at the World Cup

The sight of the Russian forward Artem Dzyuba coming on in the 70th minute, all gangly and uncoordinated, was an amazing one. Even more amazing was to see him score a goal just a minute after coming on!

Dzyuba isn’t even the tallest forward at the World Cup though, that honour jointly goes to Kim Shinwook of South Korea and Simeon Nwakwo of Nigeria, who are both 197 centimetres tall, a centimetre taller than Dzyuba himself.

Dzyuba one of the tallest forwards at World Cup
The Russian forward Artem Dzyuba is the 3rd tallest forward at the tournament behind forwards from Nigeria and South Korea (Height in centimetres)
Player nameHeight
Kim Shinwook (South Korea) 197
Simeon Nwankwo (Nigeria) 197
Artem Dzyuba (Russia) 196
Andreas Cornelius (Denmark) 195
Nicolai Jorgensen (Denmark) 194

Saudi Arabia on course for its worst World Cup performance

Saudi Arabia first qualified for the World Cup in 1994, even making it to the round of 16, but since then they’ve never made it out of the group stage. If they repeat yesterday’s show in their next matches against Uruguay and Egypt, they might even do worse than their 2002 group stage performance when they went out in the group stages after conceding 12 goals - 8 of them conceded in a single match against Germany on June 1, 2002.

Has Saudi Arabia done worse at the World Cup?
The way things are going for Saudi Arabia, they are set do worse than in the 2002 World Cup, when they conceded 12 goals and left without a single point.
YearMatches playedWonDrawnLostGoals ScoredGoals ConcededPoints
1994 3 2 0 1 4 3 6
1998 3 0 1 2 2 7 1
2002 3 0 0 3 0 12 0
2006 3 0 1 2 2 7 1

There have been poorer teams at the World Cup

Saudi Arabia isn’t the poorest team to appear at the World Cup though. There have been teams that have had more goals scored against them in the group stage and left the tournament without taking a single point. South Korea holds the record in this particular category.

In 1954, when teams played just two matches in their group, South Korea let in 16 goals, losing to Hungary 0-9 and to Turkey 0-7. So maybe Saudi Arabia has some way to go before beating that dubious record!

First Published: Jun 15, 2018 23:39 IST