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

Cherchesov- cropped

This year's tournament is held between June 17 and July 2 at four stadiums in Russian Federation and they are Spartak Stadium in Moscow, St. Petersburg Stadium, Fisht Stadium in Sochi and the Kazan Arena in Kazan.

New Zealand's goalkeeper Marinovic, who plays in the German lower leagues, did well to keep the Oceania champions in the game in the second half, producing a fine double save from Poloz and Yerokhin and then turning away another effort from Rostov forward Poloz.

Midfielder Denis Glushakov flicked the ball over goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic in the 31st minute as New Zealand defenders rushed back to try to clear it off the line.

An own goal by Michael Boxall and an easy tap-in by Fedor Smolov was all Russian Federation needed to defeat Oceania side New Zealand in the opening fixture of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.

The Confederations Cup precedes the World Cup by a year to guarantee that the facilities and provisions of the host country are ready.

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It was back to the drawing board for Anthony Hudson after his side were outplayed by Russian Federation in their Confederations Cup opener.

Putin even got to meet Pele at half time.

Russian Federation took a 1-0 lead in the 31st minute following an own goal by Michael Boxall.

Arriving by helicopter close to the stadium barely 20 minutes before kickoff, he was soon installed in the main grandstand making a speech to launch the tournament.

Both teams were lined up on the pitch for an unusual pre-match protocol, looking up at the VIP boxes to hear from Russia's leader and FIFA President Gianni Infantino, before being able to complete their preparations.

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The 68,000-seat St Petersburg stadium will be a flagship venue at the 2018 World Cup and the home of Russian soccer powerhouse Zenit, but its decade-long construction marred by corruption allegations and delays has so far caused more disappointment than satisfaction.

"Obviously in the first game of the tournament we wanted to get a better result than we did", New Zealand manager Anthony Hudson said.

Putin had also asked the players to perform like warriors, though they hardly needed to be war-like in dispatching No. 95 New Zealand, which seemed to find the world stage too big. "We knew it was going to be a hard game, which was against the host nation and the first one". "I don't know if it played a part or not".

Russia's coach suggested it was an advantage to have such a pep talk.

The All Whites had a penalty claim turned down for a handball by Vasin but Russian Federation sealed all three points as Smolov started and finished a swift passing move in the 69th minute to extended their unbeaten streak to four matches under Cherchesov.

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