Russia 5-0 Saudi Arabia | Tactical Breakdown of Aleksandr Golovin’s performance

Golovin | FI

Aleksandr Golovin led hosts Russia to a resouding 5-0 victory against Saudi Arabia in the opening game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow. The midfielder, who plies his trade for CSKA Moscow might have just increased his asking price by a few million after an excellent display in the game where he ended up with two assists and a goal scored from a free kick in the dying minutes of the game.


Golovin | FI

Russia (4-2-3-1) Manager: Cherchesov

Akinfeev; Mario, Kutepov, Ignashevich,Zhirkov; Gazinskiy,Zobnin; Samedov, Dzagoev, Golovin; Smolov

Saudi Arabia (4-1-4-1) Manager: Pizzi

Al Mayoof; Al-Burayk,Osama H, Omar H, Yasir; Abdullah O, Al Shehri, Al Jassam, Al Faraj, Al Dawsari;Al Sahlawi

Tactical Breakdown:

  • KSA tried building up with three players at the back and their fullbacks pushing high up the pitch. The KSA players were not technically proficient enough to play vertical passes into the centre of the pitch and Russia took advantage of this by breaking on the counter with numerical advantage. Golovin was crucial in stringing the passes together in the final third while also being the player who played the final ball most of the time.
  • Golovin put up a great performance as he was instrumental in the final third for Russia. Smolov moved from his position up top and drifted towards the left to allow Golovin drift inside to take up attacking positions in space(before Cheryshev came in) After Cheryshev’s introduction, in the place of the injured Dzagoev, Golovin moved towards the centre and occupied the ten space, with Cheryshev slotting into the left.


All in all, it was a great start to the tournament for the hosts as they produced a five star performance to see off Saudi Arabia. This gives them the momentum to take forward in the rest of their group games against Egypt and Uruguay. Golovin needs to replicate this performance in those games if Russia are to qualify for the next round.