Russian Federation begin Confederations Cup campaign with easy win over New Zealand

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the Confederations Cup Group A soccer match between Portugal and Mexico at the Kazan Arena Russia Sunday

Putin to attend Confed Cup opening match

The FIFA Confederations Cup is viewed by experts as a rehearsal for the organizers, with only one year to go to the FIFA World Cup.

Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo has not played since sustaining a calf injury in April, and has been ruled out of Sunday's game.

The Confederations Cup is set to begin in St Petersburg on Saturday, giving soccer fans around the world a first taste of what to expect when the World Cup takes place in Russian Federation next year.

Both Confederation Cup games played on Sunday in Russian Federation left teams confused by decisions - reached more slowly than expected - by referees taking advice from assistants watching multiple replays.

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.

"I liked New Zealand's team but luckily we managed to cancel out their strengths and displayed ours, and that was the key to our win tonight", Cherchesov said.

With two goals on the board, Russia's midfield stopped taking risks and New Zealand struggled to create counter-attacking chances.

The FIFA Confederations Cup is being held in Russian Federation for the first time and the "Tournament of Champions" is in effect a test-run for the largest sporting event in the world, the FIFA World Cup.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino says it's time to focus on soccer and not worry about the future of the Confederations Cup.

The organising committee could not be immediately reached for comment. In the United Kingdom, meanwhile, longstanding World Cup broadcaster ITV will take over broadcast duties from the BBC, with which it has shared coverage of the main event for decades. In the event, however, a full package was awarded to a state-backed consortium, with free-to-air Channel One and Match TV to show every game live between them on television and RTR to provide radio coverage.

"They gave me a fan-ID and then two hours (before the match) they cancelled it, apparently on goal so I don't have the time to complain". "We are all with Portugal", Infantino said.

New Zealand is now without a win in four trips to the Confederations Cup, and next plays Mexico on Wednesday in Sochi.

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