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Russian Federation dominate New Zealand in Confederations Cup opener
19 June 2017, 02:28 | Sandy Nunez
Portugal at an official training session at the Rubin Training Ground in Kazan Russia. AP
Participants in the 2017 Confederations Cup are hosts Russian Federation, 2014 FIFA World Cup Champions Germany, 2015 Copa America Champions Chile, 2015 AFC Asian Cup Champion Australia, 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup winners Mexico, 2016 UEFA Euro Cup champs Portugal, OFC (Oceania Football Confederation) Nations Cup victors New Zealand and 2017 CAF Africa Cup of Nations Champion Cameroon.
Football fans shone with excitement as the Russian team won the opening match of the Confederations Cup against New Zealand.
The Anthony Hudson-coached outfit want to become the first senior New Zealand team to advance to the knockout stages of a major Federation Internationale de Football Association tournament in Russia and now need a serious change in fortunes for that to eventuate.
There's massive experience in the team with record appearance holder Ronaldo, defenders Bruno Alves and Pepe, and winger Nani - all of whom have caps either in treble figures or approaching that number.
The 28-year-old South African-based player said it capped off what had not been a disappointing night personally, but for the team as a whole.
Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio insists speculation over Cristiano Ronaldo's future will not have an impact on their Confederations Cup campaign.
Santos opted for a 4-4-2 formation in that game, and it's likely he'll deploy the same system against Mexico on Sunday.
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"The game didn't go how we wanted to go", New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson acknowledged.
In the pre-match press conference, Osorio showed respect for Portugal, but also warned of his own team's attacking prowess. We played the match we have been planning for. He said Confederations Cup organisers had notified him that his fan-ID, needed to attend matches, had been cancelled in what appeared to be a further attempt to curb violence.
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.
New Zealand are now without a win in 10 Confederations Cup matches and next play Mexico on Wednesday in Sochi.
Played out under the warm St Petersburg sun, the afternoon began with a colourful and entertaining opening ceremony featuring a cast of 12 dancers and more than 2,000 artists.
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