Russian Federation beat New Zealand in Confederations Cup opener

After the New Zealand "All Whites" had cleared off the line several times, the breakthrough for the hosts came on 31 minutes when midfielder Denis Glushakov raced through into the box and chipped the ball over Kiwi 'keeper Stefan Marinovic.

Group B consists of Cameroon, Chile, Australia and world champions Germany. Although Michael Boxall helped the ball over the line and was credited with an own goal.

Fyodor Smolov, who scored his team's second goal, added: "For us it is very important to make people in the country fall in love with the national team".

But New Zealand's resistence was eventually broken 20 minutes from the end, when Fedor Smolov tapped in Alexander Samedov's low cross from the right to put the result beyond doubt and give Russian Federation an ideal start to the tournament.

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

The tournament is traditionally used as a warm-up for the following year's World Cup and features the home nation, the winners of six continental tournaments and the reigning FIFA World Cup holders.

"The first half was quite scrappy - I think certainly the first goal was preventable, we gave the ball away in a really bad area".

Although New Zealand proved they could also be risky on a few occasions, Russian Federation clearly dominated the game from start to finish.

Coach Stanislav Cherchesov claimed that his players were given extra inspiration to fight for the victory after Russian President Vladimir Putin had given a speech to officially open the tournament.

New Zealand nearly clawed themselves back in the game twice - first Ryan Thomas had a brilliant effort saved by Igor Akinfeev and then Tommy Smith had a powerful header cleared off the line by Yuri Zhirkov.

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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