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Russian Federation scores wild first goal vs. New Zealand at 2017 Confederations Cup

18 June 2017, 02:03 | Opal Carroll

Russian Federation scores wild first goal vs. New Zealand at 2017 Confederations Cup

New Zealand's players arrive at Pulkovo International Airport in Saint Petersburg in Russia on June 9 to take part in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup

Russian Federation kicked off their Confederations Cup Group A campaign in style as they cruised to a 2-0 victory over New Zealand in St Petersburg.

Russia, playing New Zealand in Group A to kick off the cup, scored in the 31st minute through Denis Glushakov.

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.

The hosts now take on Portugal on Thursday (AEST) after Fernando Santos's men have played Mexico in their Group A opener.

Both teams were lined up on the pitch for an unusual pre-match protocol, looking up at the VIP boxes to hear from Russia's leader and FIFA President Gianni Infantino, before being able to complete their preparations.

The hosts continued to crank up the pressure after the break, forcing the impressive Marinovic into a fantastic double save, but Russian pressure finally told when Krasnodar striker Smolov - top scorer in the Russia Premier League for the past two seasons - tapped home from an Aleksandr Samedov cross on 69 minutes.

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Weeks in advance, the Flying Kiwis arranged to play an 8-a-side match at a professional football ground in St. Petersburg, and surprised themselves to beat a local team 3-0, taking the edge off their disappointment at the national team's 2-0 loss to Russian Federation.

"We achieved a very good result and at times a very good game".

"We knew the scenario with who was coming to the game", New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson said.

World Cup holders Germany and the Federation Internationale de Football Association confederations champions compete in the eight-team tournament which will put Russia's ability to handle thousands of visiting and home fans under the spotlight. "He is focused on what needs to be done here, and without a doubt he will have a great tournament", Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio said Saturday.

What is the Confederations Cup?

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.

The FIFA Confederations Cup is a tournament among national football teams held under the auspices of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) in the country that will also host the World Cup in 2018.



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