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Russian fan leader banned from opening Confederations Cup match

18 Juin 2017

Host nation Russian Federation beat a poor New Zealand team 2-0 on Saturday to open the Confederations Cup with a win that was all but demanded by Vladimir Putin.

Hosts Russia are in Group A with Portugal, Mexico, the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup winners, and New Zealand, the 2016 Oceania champions.

After addressing the crowd at the end of another dismal opening ceremony, Putin sat back alongside Federation Internationale de Football Association president Gianni Infantino and expected to be entertained.

Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo runs during a training session ahead of the Russian Federation 2017 Confederation Cup football tournament in Kazan on Saturday.

Russian Federation faces a stress test of its readiness to host the 2018 World Cup as the Confederations Cup kicks off Saturday (Sunday in Manila) amid concerns over hooliganism and security. In attack they have inconsiderable talents of Alan Dzagoev, Artem Dzyuba, and Aleksandr Kokorin, they have more than enough firepower against New Zealand.

Confederations Cup teams Chile and Mexico have been sanctioned by Federation Internationale de Football Association a combined 17 times for fans' homophobic chants in the current World Cup qualifying programme.

Before the problems with the grass, issues with the stadium's retractable pitch technology made the playing surface vibrate and rendered it unfit for matches.

After the New Zealand "All Whites" had cleared off the line several times, the breakthrough for the hosts came on 31 minutes when midfielder Denis Glushakov raced through into the box and chipped the ball over Kiwi 'keeper Stefan Marinovic.

Poloz had a penalty claim turned down when he rounded Marinovic and went to ground, with referee Wilmar Roldan receiving no help from the video assistant - while Georgiy Dzhikiya's powerful strike was pushed wide by the keeper.

New Zealand keeper Stegan Marinovic clearly brought down Russian striker Dmitry Poloz during the first half but rather than review it the Columbian official waved play on. And we've took the full-scale measures to assure the event's security. "He is an idol, even for us players", admitted veteran defender Bruno Alves, the 35-year-old who has just signed for Scottish club Rangers. "That means we still have plenty of homework to do".

We examine three important reasons why A Selecção are not only the favourites, but will capture their first FIFA Confederations Cup title when the competition's final is played on July 2 in Saint Petersburg.

The deadlock was almost broken yet again five minutes later, a long ball putting Poloz through one-one-one only for Marinovic to make a timely sliding tackle as Russia's penalty pleas were rightly denied.

Russian fan leader banned from opening Confederations Cup match