Russian Federation launched the World Cup in emphatic style on Thursday when they outclassed a feeble Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the tournament's opening match to end a nine-month winless run and give the host nation's team and fans the lift they desperately needed.
Russia's new young hero Aleksandr Golovin showed he is already fed up with talk of a move to Juventus by walking out on a TV interviewer who quizzed him after the host nation's 5-0 opening World Cup win.
Putin, grappling with Western sanctions since seizing Crimea from Ukraine four years ago, will attend an opening ceremony at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium ahead of the first match of the month-long festival, pitting the hosts against Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia are led by coach Juan Antonio Pizzi, yet he faces an nearly impossible challenge of piecing together a team ready for World Cup action as most of his players are based in a domestic league that lacks quality.
Geopolitics were front and center for Thursday's opener, with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as Putin's star guest. "I'm happy we've won but we shouldn't stop there", he added.
Russian Federation made it 3-0 in the 71st minute when Golovin chipped in a cross for giant striker Dzyuba to rise unchallenged to head in from close range. The comfortable win raised hopes that the low-ranked hosts might progress into the tournament's later stages.
British pop star has grabbed the headlines once again-but this time not for his lively performance at the Federation Internationale de Football Association 2018 opening ceremony in Moscow but for his middle finger gesture during the show.
Given the concern prior to the tournament about the quality of the Russian team, ranked 70th in the world by Federation Internationale de Football Association, the result came as something of a relief.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has previously said that the two delegations would discuss an agreement on cutting global oil production, which Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation are leading, but did not plan to discuss an exit from the deal. Egypt and Uruguay play Friday in Yekaterinburg.
"Several players will face a penalty".
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.