Thought that Saudi marking on the back post was suspect for the Russia goal, but not match-fixing suspect, until I saw MBS and Putin shaking hands in front of a smiling Infantino. I laughed. pic.twitter.com/bBvJd2tBtr— Miriti Murungi (@NutmegRadio) June 14, 2018
The host nation of the 2018 FIFA world cup got off to a great start after beating Saudi Arabia 5-0 in a rather one-sided opener.
But, surprisingly, the raining goals were not the hero of the day; the most memorable event at the opener between Russia and Saudi Arabia, came from a rather different source.
As soon as Russia’s Yury Gazinsky bagged his first goal against a much tamer KSA, the image of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman shaking hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin in what seemed to be like a consolation, all but broke the internet.
Twitter exploded at the priceless image captured and some of the reactions are just hilarious.
Putin shake that hand like.... "We still building the pipeline right dawg?"????????— senator_forde (@Kerwyn_Forde) June 14, 2018
Putin: "I bet you half my gas reserves Trump signs a free trade agreement with me first."— Caiphus Kgosana (@CaiphusK_11) June 14, 2018
Crown Prince: "You are on."
Gianni: *thinking* my heroes. pic.twitter.com/TMDe65997o
?????? The #Saudi Crown Prince and President #Putin react to #Russia's first goal against #KSA!— Sarah Al-Otaibi (@SarahAlOxoxo) June 14, 2018
Too bad for #MBS -- he can't detain the Russian President for making such a face, though I'm sure he'd like to! ?? @MadawiDr #WorldCup #WorldCupRussia2018 #RussiaSaudiArabia pic.twitter.com/VAkIK3koiq
Saudi Crown Prince to Putin: "If your team can score two goals, i will hand over all my oil well to you????" Putin: ?? pic.twitter.com/8HmjYJXeXo— Chibuzor (@chibszone) June 14, 2018
Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader’s presence at the opening match of the tournament also negated his recent death rumors.
In April, there were reports of gunfire near the royal palace. According to state-run media, a recreational drone was discovered in the area, prompting security personnel to shoot it down. However, no casualties were reported.
Ever since the alleged shooting, the “reformist” crown prince hadn’t been seen on any public platform. An Iranian newspaper claimed the attack was a possible coup attempt and asserted MBS had been assassinated. However, his meme-worthy presence at the FIFA world cup has put his death rumors to bed.
The tournament has just started, with plenty of unforgettable moments still to follow, however, it may just be that the best one has already occurred.
Banner / Thumbnail : Yuri Kadobnov/Pool via REUTERS