Mourinho excites Manchester United fans after Golovin comments

People gather near decorations for the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2018 with St. Basil's Cathedral seen in the background in Moscow

People gather near decorations for the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2018 with St. Basil's Cathedral seen in the background in Moscow

For the next month, die-hard and casual fans will want to get as much information about their favorite teams and players, whether or not their country is actually playing (for the record, the United States did not qualify in this edition).

Russian coach Stanislav Cherchesov has called for calm following his team's 5-0 victory over Saudi Arabia in their opening World Cup Group A match.

An opening ceremony featuring the talents of Robbie Williams clearly got Russian Federation in the right mood to dazzle on Thursday; either that or the tournament hosts were just lucky enough to draw that bad an opponent in their opener.

It was Gazinsky's first goal of his global career.

Saudi Arabia fired Carlos Alberto Parreira after a 4-0 loss to hosts France in the group stages in 1998, even though four years earlier he had won the World Cup with his native Brazil.

Russia's fans will not care about that after enduring a wretched run of seven games without a win but they will be aware that the Asian qualifiers look desperately ill-equipped to trouble Egypt or group favourites Uruguay.

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That had an effect on Gazinsky's goal, which came after the Saudis struggled to clear a Russian corner, and the header from the tall and stocky Dzyuba.

"He knows it. He thanked me with two goals for helping him to achieve his dream and play at the World Cup".

Mourinho was spotted watching Russia's final pre-World Cup friendly against Austria last month, with reports suggesting the Portuguese was scouting Aleksandr Golovin and not Marko Arnautovic, as was initially speculated.

The 27-year-old is among Russia's top players with nine goals in 58 appearances, but fans will be encouraged by the performance of his replacement, Denis Cheryshev, who scored twice against Saudi Arabia.

Russia's celebrations were tempered by an injury to influential midfielder Alan Dzagoev. A crowd of some 10,000 people, including many families with young children, crowded onto the hill above the stadium with giant screens set up to watch the game. The hat trick was his first ever at the World Cup and matched his goal production in his first 13 games over three World Cups.

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