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MOSCOW, June 14, 2016 (News Wires) - Finally let loose after a year-long diet of international friendlies, hosts Russia roared their World Cup intent to the rafters yesterday with a 5-0 tournament-opening win over Saudi Arabia.

The Russians served up an adrenaline-fuelled performance for an 80 000-capacity Luzhniki crowd which included President Vladimir Putin and the Saudi crown prince.

The Saudis, ranked three places above Russia at 67 in the world rankings, played some nice, tight football at times, but were never able to match the Russian hosts for energy or intent.

Luzhniki exploded into raptures after only 12 minutes when Yury Gazinsky headed home for the opener. Better still, with Russians looking for the early shoots of a footballing Renaissance in a side cramped by a financially rich but poor quality domestic league, the cross that set up the tournament's opening goal came from CSKA Moscow's 22-year-old Aleksandr Golovin.

His potential move to Juventus stirred excitement at home this week after years in which Europe's best clubs have lost almost all interest in Russian talent.

Denis Cheryshev showed great skill of his own to double the hosts' lead just before halftime with a left-footed piledriver, and Artem Dzyuba headed Russia's third in the 71st minute - 89 seconds after coming on as a substitute.

Cheryshev and Golovin hit a further two in injury time, the latter from a free kick, to complete the visitors' misery.

Egypt and Uruguay are due to play the second Group A match in Yekaterinburg today.

MOSCOW, June 14, 2018 (News Wires) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak will meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih on Thursday, a Kremlin schedule showed.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has previously said that the two delegations would discuss an agreement on cutting global oil production which Saudi Arabia and Russia are leading, but did not plan to discuss an exit from the deal.

Crown Prince Mohammed is one of many world leaders visiting Russia for the soccer World Cup, which opens later on Thursday. The Saudi and Russian soccer teams are due to play one another in the first game of the tournament.

RIYADH, June 13, 2018 (News Wires) - Sami Al Jaber has played at four World Cups and scored at three. The legend of Saudi Arabian and Asian football was there for the high of 1994 and the low of 2002 and in the days before his country returns to the global stage for the first time in 2006, he is feeling positive about 2018.

Few of the many millions that will be watching the opening game between hosts Russia and the Saudis believe that the West Asian team, which would give plenty for a striker of Al-Jaber's quality, can get out of a group that also contains Uruguay and Egypt.

The 45 year-old, who made almost 150 international appearances, insists that the Greens are on the right track though it remains to be seen whether it will be enough to emulate the second round appearance of 1994.

"We prepared well back in 1994," Al-Jaber told ESPN FC. "We had been moved out of our clubs and had training camps in France and the U.S.

"We believed in ourselves. That is why we wanted to show what who were were because nobody knew. In America, they knew our name just because of the Gulf War but we showed something."

They certainly did. A first-ever World Cup appearance was a tough one, against the Netherlands. After taking a first half lead, Holland came back with two strikes after the break to win 2-1.

- Make your picks with ESPN FC Match Predictor 2018!

"They had big names and great players. I was young but we sat together as a team and saw it as a challenge. We were playing for our country, our families and our brothers," Al-Jaber said.

"After 15 minutes we were better than them. We controlled everything. We conceded two goals by mistakes but we took this confidence to the second game against Morocco and won."

Then came the memorable game against Belgium -- again a talented team -- and that goal from Saeed Al-Owairan. The Saudi star ran past half of the Belgian side from inside his own half to score and send the Green Falcons into the second round.

"I had played with him and knew what he could do. That goal showed the confidence we had," Al-Jaber recalled.

Then came a 1-0 loss to Sweden.

"It was played in 40 degrees," he said. "We are from a hot country but we don't play during the day.

"They had the perfect strategy. They scored early and made us run after the ball in the heat and that made it difficult."

CAIRO, June 10, 2018 (MENA) - Egypt condemned on Sunday a Houthi missile attack on Saudi Arabia late Saturday, leaving three civilians dead.

In a statement, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry offered deep condolences to the families of the victims and all the Saudi people.

The ministry also stressed Egypt's solidarity with Saudi Arabia in its fight against terrorism.

Such terrorist attacks will not affect determination of the Saudi-led Arab coalition to restore legitimacy in Yemen, the statement read.

The missile hit the province of Jizan in southern Saudi Arabia which borders Yemen.

RIYADH, June 10, 2018 (News Wires) -- Col. Turki Al Malki, the Official Spokesman of the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen, stated that on Saturday, the Southern Region Operations Center announced that the terrorist Iranian-backed Houthi militia has targeted civilians with a projectile, which resulted in the martyrdom of three civilians in Jazan Governorate, the official Saudi Press Agency, SPA, reported.

Col Turki Al Malki added, "The projectile was launched deliberately to target civilians. These senseless actions of the terrorist Iranian-Houthi militia fall under hostile acts against civilians."

Col. Al Malki reaffirmed, "the Joint Forces Command of the Coalition will strike with an iron fist all those who threaten the safety and security of Saudi nationals, residents and critical capabilities."

NEW YORK, June 9, 2018 (News Wires) - Money managers once again cut bets on rising oil prices - the longest streak of declines since 2013. As investors digest the signals of increasing supplies from Saudi Arabia and Russia, and the US is said to back the idea, futures have slumped 9 per cent in less than three weeks.

Total positioning on West Texas Intermediate is the lowest in almost a year ahead of an OPEC meeting in Vienna on June 22 and 23.

“The commentary out of Saudi Arabia and Russia about easing the supply restrictions just undercut the bullish narrative that had built into the market,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund. “It’s obviously going to be a very contentious meeting.”

Meanwhile, US output has risen so much that it’s overwhelming pipeline infrastructure and forcing drillers at the prolific Permian region of West Texas and New Mexico to sell their crude at growing discounts.

“There is potentially more volume coming,” said Ashley Petersen, lead oil analyst at Stratas Advisors in New York. On the WTI side, “investors are finally catching up with reality. There is a lot of production online. There’s not the midstream capacity to move this stuff out of the Permian and into the Gulf Coast.”

Hedge funds reduced their WTI net-long position - the difference between bets on a price increase and wagers on a drop - by 3.3 per cent to 313,450 futures and options during the week ended June 5, the lowest level since October 2017, according to the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Longs also slid 3.3 per cent, while shorts fell 2.8 per cent.

Money managers were also less bullish on Brent crude, gasoline and diesel.

Technical breakdown

WTI has closed below its 50-day moving average every day since the start of the month, a bearish signal. Plus, during the CFTC report week, it slid below the 100-day moving average.

“You’ve seen a bit of a technical breakdown in the trend,” said Rob Haworth, who helps oversee $151 billion in assets at US Bank Wealth Management in Seattle. And “the news flow has changed. The tightness that you were seeing in Opec production is now starting to loosen up.”

 

 

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