It came at Luzhniki Stadium - the crucible of both Russian and Soviet sport - with the weight of an expectant but sceptical nation on their shoulders."The head of state called me and congratulated me", Russia's moustachioed manager said matter-of-factly after the match. With Russia's group stage exit at the 2016 Euros and no wins in their last seven games, a positive result was vital.
"The 2018 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony was a newsworthy event produced by a third party and carried live on Fox".
Speaking ahead of his performance, Williams told ITV that it was a "pinch me moment" getting the opportunity to open the World Cup as an avid football fan.
Entering today's World Cup opener, Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia were the two lowest ranked teams in the tournament according to FIFA's World Power Rankings.
23-foot-long python swallows Indonesian woman
Reticulated pythons are common throughout Indonesia and other areas of Southeast Asia but they rarely kill humans. Police chief Agung Ramos said: "People took the snake into the village and started splitting the snake".
Pizzi was appointed to the job after Saudi Arabia qualified previous year for the finals. At the 1998 World Cup in France, the Saudi FA sacked Carlos Alberto Parreira mid-tournament, four years after he guided Brazil to football's ultimate prize in the US. We could have played 1-1 and nothing would have changed.
"We haven't been kidding anybody", he said.
Fighting rages around key port city in Yemen
Saudi-owned satellite news channels and state media soon announced the battle had begun, citing military sources. The coalition-backed troops have also been slowed by need for de-mining operations to advance.
"This is the reality that we must accept, these are their abilities and capabilities", al-Sheikh said on his Twitter account. The Saudis will face Uruguay on June 20 and then Egypt on June 25. We're talking about their looks!
More importantly, perhaps, they were projecting the image of a new Saudi Arabia in which they are slowly emerging from decades of harsh inequality as part of ambitious reforms undertaken by the country's young crown prince.
Premier League fixtures deal Arsenal boss Unai Emery a nightmare start
The Premier League announced the fixture list for the upcoming season earlier on Thursday, and it has not been kind to Arsenal . Tottenham would be hosting us on November 24 and the reverse fixture would take place at Stamford Bridge on February 27.
But if past history is anything to go by, Pizzi could well become the next coaching casualty of this tournament if Saudi authorities react with the emotive anger displayed in the past.