US, Mexico and Canada to host 2026 World Cup finals

USA, Canada and Mexico to host football World Cup 2026

The 2018 FIFA World Cup officially kicked off on Thursday with host nation Russian Federation beating Saudi Arabia five goals to none.

It came after Russian midfielder Yury Gazinsky opened the scoring on 12 minutes with a header.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud and Federation Internationale de Football Association president Gianni Infantino attended the opener along with further dignitaries and heads of state - but none from Western European or North American countries.

Dzagoev's replacement, Cheryshev, certainly stepped into the breach by scoring two goals after replacing the CSKA Moscow midfielder, including a stunner to make it 4-0, but the hosts can not afford to have their resources depleted even further by the loss of one of their best players. He later chipped the ball in for Russia's fourth goal in stoppage time.

The Green Falcons earned their first World Cup berth since 2006 by going undefeated during AFC World Cup qualifying, but have stumbled through pre-tournament friendly action, going 3-1-5 including losses in their past three games to Italy, Peru, and Germany.

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"Our goal is to beat Russian Federation".

In a departure from what has become the norm for opening ceremonies, this year's inauguration was shorter and less flamboyant than what many would have expected, lasting some 30 minutes and featuring British pop star Robbie Williams as the celebration's highlight.

Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Abdullah Almuaiouf is beaten by a free kick from Russia's Alexander Golovin in extra-time of their World Cup opener. The United States will play the biggest role in the bid, with 10 of the 16 host cities being in America.

But with the five goals against the Saudis, a draw could be enough against either of its two remaining opponents. Should Russia qualify from group A, where they face Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay, It will be their first ever qualification to the knock-outs stage.

Saudi Arabia sent some players to the Spanish league for experience this season but they didn't get much playing time while there.

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