Hosts Russia Ease Past New Zealand In Confed Cup Opener

Posted June 18, 2017

Three of the previous nine Confederations Cups have been won by the host nation and Russian Federation, playing in the tournament for the first time, impressed with victory in Saint Petersburg.

An official opening ceremony for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russian Federation was held in front of packed spectators stands of the newly-built football stadium in the countrys second largest city of St Petersburg.

Hosts of the 10th edition of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, Russia, got off to a good start following their 2-0 opening match win against New Zealand in Group A on Saturday at the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg, one of the stadiums for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

A lovely display by Erokhin and Poloz had set Glushakov through on goal, and the latter's effort was turned in by Boxall to put the hosts ahead in the 31st minute.

Host Russia were clearly the better side as they missed a handful of chances, but the three points was all that matters.

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"We are slightly deflated", the Englishman said in the post-match press conference.

Russia's Fedor Smolov celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match between Russia and New Zealand, at the St. Petersburg Stadium, Russia, Saturday, June 17, 2017.

The Russian president made it a national priority to win hosting rights for the 2018 World Cup in a fierce Federation Internationale de Football Association bidding contest seven years ago.

Ten minutes before kickoff, both teams lined up in front of the main stand to listen speeches by Putin and FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

"I believe we will have the same team as we did in this game against Portugal".

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Cherchesov felt president Putin's pre-match speech which ended with the proclamation, "Dear friends, let us watch football!" "We can just focus on the football, which is what we want to do".

"It is the first step to the English Premier League now", Cherchesov said in English as he looked across to his also-smiling forward at a news conference. Russia, a record low 63rd in FIFA's world rankings, face Portugal on Wednesday and New Zealand play Mexico the same day.

Russian Federation eventually broke the deadlock in the 30th minute as Denis Glushakov was played through on goal by Fyodor Smolov and lobbed on-rushing Marinovic.

A chest-high pass to forward Dmitry Poloz was deftly guided into the path of Denis Glushakov who chipped the ball over onrushing goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic.

Playing in the tournament for the first time, Russian Federation were on the front foot and had two early chances cleared off the line in the opening 10 minutes. A three-player race to meet the rebound off a post saw the sliding Boxall's trailing right arm get the final touch in a bundle of bodies. "But I imagine they are happy with the win in the first game".

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