Russia eased past Luxembourg in a rain-drenched early kick-off to take pole position in Group F.
FC Dinamo Moskva's Aleksandr Kokorin was the star, hitting a first-half double – the opener inside 20 seconds, Russia's fastest ever goal – to send his team on their way to a routine win in a match that was delayed for an hour due to heavy rain. Aleksandr Kerzhakov and Aleksandr Samedov added further efforts after the break to negate Aurélien Joachim's late response for the visitors.
Following back-to-back defeats against Portugal and, last month, Northern Ireland, Russia fans were looking for a positive response from their team and got it with only 19 seconds on the clock. A searching ball from the back was headed into Kokorin's path by Kerzhakov, and the striker stayed cool to lob stranded goalkeeper Jonathan Joubert with his first touch.
At a 36th-minute free-kick, Kokorin's glancing header found its way inside a post to further strengthen Russia's grip on the game, before Kerzhakov poached a third on the hour, nipping in front of Joubert to redirect Sergei Ignashevitch's headed effort.
Luxembourg captain Joachim pulled a goal back in the final minute, but substitute Samedov cemented a hectic final period by restoring Russia's three-goal advantage in added time.