Russia dominate New Zealand in Confederations Cup opener

Cherchesov- cropped

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The four Russian cities that will host the eighth Confederations Cup - St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan and Sochi - were represented at the event.

Russian Federation convincingly beat New Zealand 2-0 at the St Petersburg stadium in front of 50,251 people, including President Vladimir Putin and FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who addressed the crowd before kickoff.

Russian Federation faces a test of its readiness to host the 2018 World Cup as the Confederations Cup kicks off in St. Petersburg.

When the Russian players - some unknown outside their home country - were given center stage, they forced an own goal from New Zealand defender Michael Boxall in the 31st minute, and forward Fyodor Smolov added a second in the 69th.

"For the first time in history, our state, Russia, hosts the continents' strongest teams".

Viktor Vasin hit the post, Dmitry Poloz saw a stabbed effort cleared off the line while New Zealand goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic made numerous saves to keep the scoreline blank. Portugal will play Mexico in a Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match scheduled for Sunda.

The event kicks off on Saturday with host team Russian Federation meeting New Zealand in the tournament's opening game in St. Petersburg.

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The hosts now take on Portugal on Wednesday, with Fernando Santos' men taking on Mexico in their Group A opener on Sunday.

"We knew it was going to be a hard game, which was against the host nation and the first one".

When the goal came, it had an ugly finish after two pretty pieces of individual skill once the All-Whites defense needlessly lost the ball.

Cherchesov felt president Putin's pre-match speech - which ended with the proclamation "Dear friends, let us watch football!"

Alexander Yerokhin sparked the attack with an interception around 30 yards from goal, and his pass was helped on by Poloz into the path of Denis Glushakov. "But I imagine they are happy with the win in the first game".

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