Revived fans in the 70th minute, coming on as a substitute Artem Dzyuba, who in a moment first touch scored a goal.
Cheryshev hammered in a fourth with the outside of his left foot in stoppage time and Golovin capped a magnificent performance by bending in a last-gasp free-kick.
GOAL 90+4: Golovin also gets his name in the score sheet after being earlier involved in the two goals. He fell for the feint Cheryshev in the second goal, closed Gazinskaya and Dzyuba in the first and third.
Sbornaya took the lead from the resulting corner, however, as Gazinskiy headed home Golovin's pin-point cross to the back post after the ball was recycled on the left. Saudi failed to clear a corner, Aleksandr Golovin crossed, and Iury Gazinski guided a header into the far corner.
He missed the final months of that season with injury and was again sidelined for much of the 2016-17 campaign before working his way back into World Cup contention at Villarreal this term. However, Russia managed to keep things under control as Cheryshev found the target in the 43rd minute to double their lead. If they can do likewise against Egypt next week, they have an excellent chance of making the knockout stages. Then there was a knock Zobnina from close range, it seemed that the game was made in the first half, and Russian Federation diminished pace.
Saudi Arabia were continuing to give possession away easily and, from another concession dangerously close to their own area, Golovin fired over.
Will Russia continue their dominance in second half or will Saudi make strong comeback.
But his replacement, former Real Madrid winger Cheryshev, celebrated his recent recall to the national side with Russia's second goal two minutes before half-time. Russia chose to drive straight at the Asian country's backline every time they had the ball, the Green Falcons failing to come up with a solution for the Russian midfielders' late, incisive passes to an overlapping runner between the channels.
The clourful nature of the choreography, the performance by Robbie Williams (though controversial), and everything else on the day was just inch-perfect, setting up the tone for football's biggest festival.
23rd minute: Alan Dzagoev clutches his hamstring and it is a big blow for Russian Federation in the opening game. Some scrappy defending from Saudi Arabia, some excellent skill and a smashing finish from Denis Cheryshev.
Russian Federation made it 3-0 in the 71st minute when Golovin chipped in a cross for giant striker Dzyuba to rise and head in from close range.
Russian Federation selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.