Published: Thu, June 22, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Russia delivers win for Putin to open Confederations Cup

Russia delivers win for Putin to open Confederations Cup

The Confederations Cup has kicked off with host nation Russian Federation opening the World Cup rehearsal tournament against New Zealand.

Russian Federation made an impressive start to the tournament in Saint Petersburg on Saturday, winning 2-0 thanks to Michael Boxall's own goal and a Fyodor Smolov strike, in a victory that was more convincing than the scoreline suggests.

Along with Team Russia, they will welcome teams from seven countries: New Zealand, Portugal, Mexico (Group A); and Germany, Chile, Cameroon and Australia (Group B).

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.

"We wanted to stay in the game as long as possible, and certainly the first goal was preventable, we gave the ball away in a really bad area".

"But we will be able to check whether we've done everything right only once we play in official matches. We have a very, very good team, we have some good players in our team and the objective for us is to do something significant", he told reporters on Friday.

They salvaged an impressive 3-3 draw with Belgium, but that followed a 2-0 home defeat to Ivory Coast - Russia's first loss to an African team - and a humiliating 2-1 defeat to Qatar.

"[But] overall we showed plenty of spirit and there are certainly plenty of positives to take into the next game".

Hudson though insists his players are raring to go in Russian Federation.

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. We are ready to fight. "We're very optimistic coming into this tournament".

"For Russia this is a great holiday, we have been preparing for it over the past several years".

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