Ballet, pop stars & folk dances as Russian Federation welcomes FIFA Confederations Cup

Lynette Rowe
June 19, 2017

Fyodor Smolov who was outstanding in the game got the second goal in the 69th minute.

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The 2017 edition brings together Australia, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, Portugal, Cameroon, Germany and Russian Federation.

Host nation Russian Federation beat a poor New Zealand team 2-0 on Saturday to open the Confederations Cup with a win that was all but demanded by Vladimir Putin.

Russian Federation went ahead in the first half of the Group A encounter through what was credited as an own goal from New Zealand defender Michael Boxall, and Smolov wrapped up the victory in the 69th minute.

The European champions will open the Group A program on Sunday against Mexico in Kazan.

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When the goal came, it had an ugly finish after two pretty pieces of individual skill once the All-Whites defense needlessly lost the ball.

Poloz's neat touch set up Denis Glushakov, who dinked his effort over goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic and off the post before Boxall bundled the ball into his own net. Tommy Smith then tidied up when Poloz poked a close-range shot slowly past Marinovic.

Pizzi says the Chile staff is "optimistic from the images we've seen, but we understand and know that the player still feels pain, and that's why we'll wait until tomorrow to decide if he plays".

Russian president Vladimir Putin officially got the tournament underway by addressing the crowd at the Krestovsky stadium, but it was far from a full house with a spattering of blue seats visible which will continue to raise questions about whether Russia is a suitable host for the tournament, and indeed the World Cup in a year's time.

Russia's victory showed it can win a big game at home, even if Putin is in the arena.

"The fact the leader of the country came to the match is on the one hand an additional positive, but it is also an additional responsibility", Russian Federation manager Stanislav Cherchesov, whose team face Portugal on Wednesday, told reporters. He prefers ice hockey and saw a team that carried fervent hopes of an Olympic title lose on home ice in the quarterfinals at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

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