Russia Shuts Out Saudi Arabia in World Cup Kick-Off


The football World Cup kicked off Thursday with host Russia defeating Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the opening match of the tournament.

On Friday, Egypt takes on Uruguay, Morocco faces Iran and Portugal squares off against Spain.

Russia President Vladimir Putin attended the opening ceremony of the event at the 80,000-seat Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

Russia is spending $13 billion to put on the event, with matches taking place in 11 host cities.

Group play runs through June 28, with the knockout phase beginning June 30. The World Cup champion will be crowned July 15.

Brazil, France, Spain, Argentina and defending champion Germany are among the favorites to win the 32-team tournament.

Two teams notably absent from the tournament are Italy and the Netherlands.

In addition to fans watching the games in Russia, television broadcasts will reach massive audiences around the world.

Football's governing body, FIFA, said during the last World Cup in 2014 an estimated 3 billion people watched at least part of a game during the tournament, while 1 billion tuned in for the final match between Germany and Argentina.

The next World Cup will be held in Qatar in November-December 2022. The 2026 event will be jointly hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Source: Voice of America