Putin thanks Federation Internationale de Football Association for helping Russia in arranging Confederations Cup

Russia off to winning start in Confederations Cup

Putin thanks Federation Internationale de Football Association for helping Russia in arranging Confederations Cup

There's heavy pressure on Russian Federation to perform at the Confederations Cup, and with a slew of dignitaries in attendance on Saturday, the home team delivered.

"I had travelled nearly 500km by auto to watch the match, I paid 8,000 rubles (123 euros) for a ticket which I couldn't use".

Russia's Fedor Smolov, center, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the Confederations, Cup Group A soccer match between Russia and New Zealand, at the St.Petersburg stadium in St.Petersburg, Russia, Saturd.

The tournament is traditionally used as a warm-up for the following year's World Cup and features the home nation, the winners of six continental tournaments and the reigning FIFA World Cup holders.

Russia's fast start contrasted with New Zealand seeming unsettled early in a game that began after an unusual pre-match ceremony.

"It is a little hard for the players", Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi said.

In the 69th minute, Russian Federation scored again when Smolov started a move on the halfway line, passed the ball wide to the right to Alexander Samedov and Smolov sprinted in to the penalty area to score from five yards. If they are to return to Russian Federation for the World Cup in 2018, they must overcome the Solomon Islands in a two-legged playoff before facing the fifth-placed team in the South American qualifiers (currently Argentina) in November.

One "clear error" might be overturned every four or five games, Federation Internationale de Football Association head of refereeing Massimo Busacca suggested a year ago.

New Zealand also wanted to win too, but we have achieved a very good result.

Count Vidal among the current skeptics.

Russian Federation made sure of victory in the second half, with Fyodor Smolov's third goal in four internationals ensuring president Vladimir Putin, who called for improved performances in the event, was applauding happily in the stands.

Federation Internationale de Football Association wants to keep fans in the loop by showing slow motion images on stadium giant screens.

Forward Nani scored but a review by video assistants showed a Portugal player was offside in the build up to the goal.

New Zealand coach Hudson, whose team face Mexico next in Sochi on Wednesday, was keen to take the positives from the game, insisting that playing on such a stage was only beneficial to a group of players whose competitive action typically extends to qualifiers against the likes of Tahiti, New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea. "But we have to be careful because I don't think people understand this new rule really well".

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