Russia eases to 2-0 Confederations Cup win over New Zealand

Russia eases to 2-0 Confederations Cup win over New Zealand

Russia eases to 2-0 Confederations Cup win over New Zealand

"If anything [tonight] means we've gotta go more balls out and go for the win", said defender Boxall, who was credited with an own goal after Russian Federation hit the lead on the half-hour mark.

An own-goal from Michael Boxall and Fedor Smolov's second-half strike sealed all three points for new coach Stanislav Cherchesov's side as the tournament hosts impressed at the Krestovsky Stadium.

The Russian national team will play with the Portuguese team, which is acting Europe's champion, on June 21 in Moscow.

It is never wise to disobey Vladimir Putin and Russia's players ensured his midweek warning was not ignored as they kicked off the Confederations Cup in style, beating New Zealand with a performance far more emphatic than the 2-0 scoreline suggested.

Participants in the 2017 Confederations Cup are hosts Russian Federation, 2014 FIFA World Cup winners Germany, 2015 Copa America champions Chile, 2015 AFC Asian Cup champions 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 (Afcon) champions Cameroon.

The New Zealand keeper made another great stop from Poloz after a swift Russian Federation counter-attack, while Alexander Samedov curled over from a free-kick as Russian Federation looked to put the result beyond doubt.

Midfielder and shining light Ryan Thomas did have a stinging shot well saved in the 71st-minute and Tommy Smith's header from the resulting corner was cleared off the line.

Dmitry Poloz then went down under a challenge from New Zealand goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic in the area, but the Colombian referee waved away the penalty appeals and there was no intervention from the video assistant. "People are very sad in Portugal and the players are thinking of all those who are suffering from what's happened".

"We played a team that has very good, technical players", said Portugsl coach Fernando Santos. "We could have been more aggressive".

Portugal's Ricardo Quaresma celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match between Portugal and Mexico, at the Kazan Arena, Russia, Sunday, June 18, 2017.

After addressing the crowd at the end of another dismal opening ceremony, Putin sat back alongside Federation Internationale de Football Association president Gianni Infantino and expected to be entertained.

"We're completely ready for the tournament", Russia's deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko told Friday's press conference.

"So, we're slightly deflated but the team showed a lot of spirit".

Osorio has opted for an attacking 4-3-3 line-up in recent games, with Hernandez, Carlos Vela and Hirving Lozano up front, and could look to deploy the same forward-thinking approach against Portugal. He prefers ice hockey and saw a team that carried fervent hopes of an Olympic title lose on home ice in the quarterfinals at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

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