FIFA Confederations Cup Opening Ceremony Starts in Russia's St. Petersburg

Russian Federation breathed a sigh of relief after its football team won the opening match of the Confederations Cup and the country demonstrated that one of its most problematic World Cup pitches was fit for global matches.

The hosts almost went ahead after after seven minutes when Viktor Vasin's glancing header crashed against the upright with Stefan Marinovic well beaten.

While Russia defeated New Zealand in the Confederations Cup opener, many questions still surround their predictability.

The Russian ace slotted the ball over the keeper Stefan Marinovic but Micael Boxall attempting to clear off the line got the last touch - and the goal was credited to the New Zealander.

Report informs that the 8th competition is like test before the 2018 World Cup.

"We need to understand that we will face strong opponents - Portugal, Mexico, Germany, Chile".

Putin also stressed Russia's "responsibility and decisiveness to hold the Confederations Cup at the top level".

Playing in the tournament for the first time, Russian Federation were on the front foot and had two early chances cleared off the line in the opening 10 minutes.

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When the goal came, it had an ugly finish after two pretty pieces of individual skill once the All-Whites defense needlessly lost the ball.

From Russia's fourth corner, defender Viktor Vasin's header saw the ball spin off a post and across the goalmouth before Michael McGlinchey cleared.

Host Russia were clearly the better side as they missed a handful of chances, but the three points was all that matters.

Ipswich's Tommy Smith was then on hand to keep Russian Federation at bay as the defender cleared Dmitry Poloz's effort.

The first match is scheduled to start at 6 p.m local time (15:00 GMT) on Saturday, whereas the opening ceremony had begun two hours earlier.

Putin, who urged Russian Federation to improve their performances in the build-up to the tournament, seemed to enjoy the match and was seen happily applauding Smolov's strike as he sat in the stands alongside FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

Russia's victory showed it can win a big game at home, even if Putin is in the arena.

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