It’s day one of the 2018 World Cup, and Vladimir Putin has welcomed the Saudi Crown Prince to Russia with a shrug as the first goal of the tournament flies into the back of the net off Yuri Gazinskiy’s forehead.
Remember the first goal of the last World Cup?
Sao Paulo. 2014. A cross on the ground through the box. Knocking around off someone’s foot, and then off the foot of Marcelo. Past Julio Cesar. Into Brazil’s own goal.
They won that game, but two weeks later: 7-1 happened.
This guy happened.
This time, eleven minutes in, there’s a leaping, twisting header from Gazinskiy, a perfect ball from Aleksandr Golovin over the heads of all ten Saudi field players, and a 1-0 lead for the home team.
They say he’s going to Juventus, this Golovin. From CSKA Moscow. An Andrei Arshavin esque package of cheeky Russian playmaking we hope lasts beyond this first week.
By the end of the game, he nets himself a goal and a second assist, with a 5-0 rout in front of an ecstatic crowd seeing what it’s never before seen. Vladimir Putin shrugging, shrugging, and shrugging again—the first time since 2002 they’ve scored even two goals in a World Cup game.
Good omens all around.
— Marwan Ahmed (@MarwanAhmed_KF) June 14, 2018
The beautiful game has arrived in Moscow.
Blossoming on the foot of Aleksandr Golovin.
The guy will be a star.