Hosts Russia see off New Zealand in opener โ€” FIFA Confederations Cup

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Cherchesov's 3-5-2 formation proved too strong for New Zealand's limited team, and the passing and movement of the hosts may even have earned the admiration of Putin, who watched from the stands alongside Federation Internationale de Football Association president Gianni Infantino after delivering a stirring pre-match address.

Matches will be held at the stadiums, which next year will take the mundial.

Hosts Russia kick off the Confederations Cup against New Zealand in St Petersburg today, targeting victory in their opening match to set the tone for a successful tournament.

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) - What Vladimir Putin wants, Vladimir Putin tends to get.

The host nation and the Oceania champions will kick-off the 2017 edition of the FIFA Confederations Cup.

Rating chances came early for Russian Federation, having fun with self-confidence as well as unanticipated panache, a powerful header by protector Viktor Vasin jumping off the inside of the article prior to being cleared by New Zealand's Michael McGlinchey.

But this was Putin's show.

"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.

Commenting on the match, FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura said tickets for the group game between Portugal and Russian Federation have been sold.

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The All Whites now travel to Sochi to face world No.17 Mexico early on Thursday (NZT), and Hudson says they'll be a better team for the hit-out against Russian Federation.

It will be played at the Krestovsky Stadium in St Petersburg - the new home of Zenit. They hardly needed to be in dispatching No. 95 New Zealand, which seemed to find the world stage too big.

The Russians were certainly satisfied with the result at the end of the match, but New Zealand proved they will struggle in this environment and competition. "As far as I know, thorough preparations have been made".

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

After the game, Cherchesov, a former goalkeeper who played for the national team before and after the fall of communism suggested it was an advantage to have such a pep talk.

"When the president of our country comes out to make a speech it mobilises us and gives us great motivation, but it also adds to our responsibilities", he said after the match.

After the game, Ronaldo conceded that the team was disappointed but already looking forward to the next match, with dabblebet offering a Portugal win at 21/20 (2.05). The win puts them top of Group A, with Mexico and Portugal - the other two teams in the section - due to face off on Sunday. "It allowed us to play", Cherchesov said.

But empty seats remain a concern, with Russia's Sport Express reporting that some tickets were being handed out to state workers for free in a bid to fill the stands at an upcoming Confederations Cup match in Kazan.

After New Zealand lost possession in a risky area, Poloz's neat touch released Glushakov, who clipped his finish over Marinovic and off the post before Boxall bundled the ball into his own net as he and Smith were trying to clear the ball off the goal yard. A three-player race to meet the rebound off a post saw the sliding Boxall's trailing right arm get the final touch in a bundle of bodies.

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