Hosts Russia see off New Zealand in Confederations Cup opener

Russia's Fedor Smolov, center, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the Confederations, Cup Group A soccer match between Russia and New Zealand, at the St.Petersburg stadium in St.Petersburg, Russia, Saturd.

The Kiwis also thought they should have had a spot kick in the second half when the ball hit Aleksandr Erokhin's chest ... but the referee once again did not even get the incident reviewed.

"When we did well against Mexico and the United States (1-1 draw) past year it was because we won the ball pressing high up the pitch, connected a few passes and create things from there". If they are to return to Russian Federation for the World Cup in 2018, they must overcome the Solomon Islands in a two-legged playoff before facing the fifth-placed team in the South American qualifiers (currently Argentina) in November.

For Russia, ranked 63rd in the world - between Scotland and Albania - it was a case of laying a platform and easing the pressure, although Cherchesov was insistent that pressure is not an issue for him and his squad. "I think at the end of the day, it's a deserved result because the team played our style, showed our characteristics and played our game".

The All Whites went down 2-1 in one of their better performances under coach Anthony Hudson.

"I would like to say something on behalf of my players". We know these days that possession of the ball is the most important thing.


Russia's coach suggested it was an advantage to have such a pep talk. We don't get a lot of opportunities to play top teams, so this was an unbelievable experience.

KAZAN, Russia Mexico claimed a 2-2 draw with Portugal in their Confederations Cup opener on Sunday with a last-gasp equaliser by Hector Moreno after Cedric seemed to have won the game for the European champions with a goal five minutes from time. The European champion opens its Group A program on Sunday against Mexico in Kazan. "Cristiano is totally focused in helping our team".

As for Portugal, their young striker Andre Silva, Who recently completed a big money move to AC Milan, said their captain Ronaldo is only focusing on the national team and winning the tournament. "We all hope that the guys play with full commitment, like real warriors and athletes, to at least please the fans with their effort to win".

New blood has been added to the side in the shape of forward Dmitry Poloz and defenders like Viktor Vasin and Georgy Dzhikya, who are solid performers from the Russian Premier League.

The four Russian cities that will host the eighth Confederations Cup - St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan and Sochi - were represented at the event.

Russian Federation deserved its first-half lead after twice having shots stopped on the line in the opening 10 minutes.

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