Russian Federation defeats New Zealand at 1st Match of FIFA Confederations Cup

New Zealand's players arrive at Pulkovo International Airport in Saint Petersburg in Russia on June 9 to take part in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup

Putin, who urged Russian Federation to improve their performances in the build-up to the tournament, seemed to enjoy the match and was seen happily applauding Smolov's strike as he sat in the stands alongside FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

The Group A first stage match will be Russia's Confederations Cup debut, and it will come in front of a home crowd that has already sent thousands of fans to practices ahead of the tournament.

Report informs that the 8th competition is like test before the 2018 World Cup.

The Confederations Cup will be held in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Sochi and Kazan between June 17 and July 2, 2017.

Having hoped to make history by being the first senior New Zealand team to make it to the knockout stages of a major Federation Internationale de Football Association tournament, the All Whites now faced a very stiff task to achieve that.

Putin even got to meet Pele at half time.

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. A number of new players have been drafted into the squad with 21-year-old Aleksandr Golovin, Lokomotiv Moscow midfielder Aleksey Miranchuk, and Spartak Moscow defender Georgy Dzhikya all finding a place in the team.

Russian Federation and New Zealand will be battling on the pitch today to win the game.

"We haven't really won a lot over the years but of course we want to achieve more than we have in recent years". "I have a pact with the players and we treat these personal matters away from the national team".

Asked if his team could have been more aggressive, Hudson's response was emphatic.

President Vladimir Putin, for whom the tournament and the World Cup are prestige projects, said Thursday: "Let us hope that the guys will try to perform well, like real fighters".

Host Russia were clearly the better side as they missed a handful of chances, but the three points was all that matters. "He is focused on what needs to be done here, and without a doubt he will have a great tournament", Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio said Saturday.

But Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov, appointed after the country's disastrous Euro 2016 campaign, predicts a tricky encounter as he oversees his first competitive match in charge.

Russian Federation qualified for the Confederations Cup as host of the 2018 World Cup, while New Zealand won the minnow-laden OFC Nations Cup last summer.

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.

He was quoted as saing: "We are pleased that Russian Federation has been entrusted with the mission to become the first host country of the Confederations Cup and the World Cup to implement such initiatives with the aim of making world football better".

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