Russian Federation delivers win for Putin to open Confederations Cup

Russia v New Zealand preview Hosts aim for winning start in Confed Cup opener

News Russia v New Zealand preview Hosts aim for winning start in Confed Cup opener 16 Jun 2017 16:23

New Zealand did their best to push for a goal and were narrowly denied twice with a little more than 10 minutes to play but bright moments were rare for the visitors as Russian Federation remained on top in the closing stages. We played the match we have been planning for. Portugal and Mexico, the reigning European and North American champions, respectively, remain heavy favorites to advance from Group A and will face each other Sunday in Kazan.

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.

"We can take confidence that we played Mexico a year ago and did very well (a 2-1 loss), we know that team well and we have an extra day to recover than them".

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.

But the venue, which will also host the final on July 2, came through this opening test unscathed, even if there was a considerable number of empty seats.

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Ipswich's Tommy Smith was then on hand to keep Russian Federation at bay as the defender cleared Dmitry Poloz's effort.

Fedor Smolov celebrates scoring Russia's second goal.

Denis Glushakov dinks the ball over Kiwi goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic, leading to the opening goal of the game.

The Spartak Moscow midfielder lifted the ball over Marinovic and saw his effort hit the post before Boxall, one of two defenders desperately scrambling back to try to clear, helped it over the line.

Instead it was their Kiwi opponents who spent the large majority of the 90 minutes under the pump, Russian Federation scoring once in each half and creating numerous other opportunities as the All Whites were forced to continuously scramble in defence and survive on scraps in attack.

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Download the Nigeria Today app from Play store. "That means we still have plenty of homework to do".

General information about host cities, stadiums, tickets, transportation, timetables and results for the games, the latest news, and other trivia info can be found on our special RT page here.

But Russia did increase their lead with just over 20 minutes left, Smolov finding Samedov on the right and then arriving unmarked in the box to convert his team-mate's cross.

"So, we're slightly deflated but the team showed a lot of spirit".

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