Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, left, FIFA President Gianni Infantino, center, and Russian President Vladimir Putin watch the opening match of the FIFA World Cup 2018 between Russia and Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow, Thursday.

Russia began their FIFA World Cup 2018 campaign with a stupendous 5-0 victory over Saudi Arabia in a Group A game in Moscow on Thursday.

Iury Gazinsky opened the scoring with a header in the 12th minute, with Denis Cheryshevadded a second before Artem Dzyuba got the third in the 71st minute.

Cheryshev added a fourth with a superb finish before Aleksandr Golovin curled in a superb free-kick in injury time as President Vladimir Putin watched on in delight.

Putin smiled several times as he watched the game from a VIP box with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. After Russia scored their first goal, cameras captured Putin shrugging and shaking hands with Salman.

After the match, Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov said he received a congratulatory call from President Putin.

Cherchesov’s team entered the match at Moscow’s 80,000-seat Luzhniki Stadium under intense pressure to put on a worthy performance.

Russia were without a win in more than eight months and ranked 70th in the world — the lowest of the 32 teams in the showpiece. But they gained confidence as the match progressed and achieved a superb win.

Russia will now face Egypt on June 19.