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Russia defeats New Zealand at 1st Match of FIFA Confederations Cup

18 Juin 2017

"And the match between Russian Federation and Portugal has been sold out several weeks ago".

Russian Federation take on New Zealand in St. Petersburg in the first match of the eight-nation Confederations Cup on a pitch that had to be hastily relaid after football officials deplored its quality when it cut up badly during a match there in April.

New Zealand did force Igor Akinfeev into a couple of relatively easy early saves, but Russian Federation took control of the match in the 31st minute. They are a team weakened by the injury-enforced absences of Alan Dzagoev and Artem Dzyuba, not to mention the worldwide retirements of Sergei Ignashevich and Vasili Berezutsky.

"But Russia's authorities have worked out a comprehensive security concept that will act during the major football tournaments here to avoid any chance of the repetition of such kind of events". Fedor Smolov scored a second from close range after the break.

While Germany are resting their senior players for the tournament, the Confederations Cup will benefit from the star appeal of Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

Russia President Vladimir Putin watched the Confederations Cup opener with FIFA's Gianni Infantino.

"The fact the leader of the country came to the match is on the one hand an additional positive, but it is also an additional responsibility", Cherchesov, whose team face Portugal, Wednesday, told reporters.

Touching on Zenit ex-forward Hulk's remark that he encountered racism nearly in every game he played in Russia, Aleksandr said, "Everyone loves Hulk in our country, we've never had such a star player here". Coach Stanislav Cherchesov has blended in several exciting players for the Sbornaya.

But Russia sealed victory in the 69th minute when New Zealand fail to react fast enough to Samedov squared pass across goal - and there was Fedor Smolov to slot home unmarked from just a few yards out. Our team welcomes Russia's president watching our matches. The semi-finals will be held at the Kazan Arena, where Rubin Kazan play their home games, and the Fischt Olympic Stadium, which hosted the opening ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

"With how we've gone against top sides recently, we were really optimistic about possibly surprising Russian Federation but they were top class". They were full of running, were sharp and quick. "We know they are strong but we have no fear of them". "There is no pressure on us as a team".

"We're a tight-knit team and we really understand all the different phases we have to go through: when it's time to train we train, and when it's time to kick back and relax we do that too".

And while a good display in a 2-1 defeat to their next opponents in October a year ago gave them heart, Boxall said they needed to be much better with a key part of their game plan that they executed well in that fixture. "Everything has gone well".

Hudson though insists his players are raring to go in Russian Federation.

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has insisted he is focused exclusively on representing Portugal in the aim for Confederations Cup glory, instead of a rumoured move to former club Manchester United.

Russia defeats New Zealand at 1st Match of FIFA Confederations Cup