Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Russian Federation can fight for Confederations Cup trophy - deputy premier


Russian Federation coach Stanislav Cherchesov said his team were "mobilised" by a pregame speech from President Vladimir Putin ahead of their 2-0 FIFA Confederations Cup win over New Zealand on Saturday. "But we will be able to check whether we've done everything right only once we play in official matches".

Russia's players duly delivered a victory their head of state had all but demanded this week by beating a poor New Zealand team 2-0.

"We've worked hard and I believe now we're well-prepared for the opening game", Zenit midfielder Igor Smolnikov told Russian TV.

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

Russian Federation convincingly beat New Zealand 2-0 at the St Petersburg stadium in front of 50,251 people, including President Vladimir Putin and FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who addressed the crowd before kickoff.

New Zealand did force Igor Akinfeev into a couple of relatively easy early saves, but Russian Federation took control of the match in the 31st minute.

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Next year's World Cup will take place in 12 stadiums spread across 11 cities, including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan and Sochi, the host cities for the Confederations Cup. The European champion opens its Group A program on Sunday against Mexico in Kazan. It came off some lovely passing from the hosts, with Glushakov lifting the ball over the goalkeeper and off the right post while a insane scramble at that post took place. New Zealand's Michael Boxall got a touch on the ball and was credited with an own goal.

Smolov's goal was rightly ruled out for offside, but dominant Russian Federation were not to be denied, taking the lead on 31 minutes.

From Russia's fourth corner, defender Viktor Vasin's header saw the ball spin off a post and across the goalmouth before Michael McGlinchey cleared.

New Zealand had their first major chance in the 78th minute. Tommy Smith then tidied up when Poloz poked a close-range shot slowly past Marinovic.

The first match is scheduled to start at 6 p.m local time (15:00 GMT) on Saturday, whereas the opening ceremony had begun two hours earlier.

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

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