THE Russian fans chanted “Vladmir, Vladimir” during their country’s thrashing of Saudi Arabia in the opener of the 2018 World Cup today.
The hosts thumped Saudi Arabia 5-0 at Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, in the first match of the highly anticipated tournament.
Getty Images Russia fans were in full voice for the whole length of the match
But most of the 78,011 present sang “Vladimir, Vladimir” during the tie, in reference to President of Russia Vladimir Putin.
Images of the 65-year-old were broadcast on screens at the stadium, with the caption “THE PLANET’S MAIN FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT”.
Social media reacted to the joyful chant by praising the politician, who was at the game.
One Twitter user wrote: “Large part of the crowd just burst into a chant of ‘Vladimir! Vladimir!’
AFP Vladimir Putin (third from left) watched alongside Fifa president Gianni Infantino (second from left)
“No doubting who the real winner of this tournament will be, no matter who lifts the trophy in four weeks time.”
Others lauded Putin’s influence on the Russian national team.
One fan posted: “Man of the Match for that game – Vladimir Putin.”
Another said: “VLADIMIR PUTIN 5-0 Saudi Arabia There we go.”
AFP or licensors Putin addressed the 78,000 with a rousing speech ahead of the game
AFP or licensors Russia fans celebrated before, during and after the win
Six million viewers in the UK tuned in to catch Russia’s clash.
They enjoyed live music and dancing from the arena as the countdown began for 2018 World Cup.
But many were furious Robbie Williams stuck his middle finger up at the camera during the opening ceremony.