Russian Federation eases to 2-0 Confederations Cup win over New Zealand
- Author: Julie Sanders Jun 18, 2017,
Jun 18, 2017, 17:15
In Group A Russian Federation will play OFC (Oceania Football Confederation) Nations Cup victors New Zealand in St. Petersburg on June 17, Euro 2016 champions Portugal in Moscow on June 21 and 2015 Concacaf Gold Cup winners Mexico in Kazan on June 24.
Andre Silva, the 21-year-old forward who is about to make his debut in a major tournament with Portugal, has been successfully teaming up with Ronaldo to give the European champions an impressive attacking force entering the Confederations Cup.
In the tournament's opening game at Saint Petersburg Stadium and with President Vladimir Putin, FIFA chief Gianni Infantino and football legend Pele all in attendance, Russian Federation made the winning start to the tournament that was widely expected of them against a lower-ranked New Zealand team.
In addition, host Russian Federation is all set to kick off the Confederations Cup against New Zealand in Saint Petersburg on Saturday, to achieve victory in their opening match to set a successful tournament for them.
On the sporting side, the six Federation Internationale de Football Association confederation champions plus world champions Germany and hosts Russia are doing battle for the 10th edition of a tournament whose future is in doubt.
New Zealand is not a frequent guest of the Confederations Cup.
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.
FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura said Russia's readiness had "surpassed expectations".
Confederations Cup teams Chile and Mexico have been sanctioned by Federation Internationale de Football Association a combined 17 times for fans' homophobic chants in the current World Cup qualifying programme.
Along with Team Russia, they will welcome teams from seven countries: New Zealand, Portugal, Mexico (Group A); and Germany, Chile, Cameroon and Australia (Group B).
"We can play much better and perform much more skilled football than we showed today and we made too many mistakes".
Clearly buoyed, Russian Federation lifted the tempo further during the closing 15 minutes of the half, forcing New Zealand to continued to scramble in defence and live off scraps in attack.
"This is a young, exciting group of players and we're looking forward to a good campaign and everybody will be ready for it".
At Saturday's game there were two pre-game stadium announcements warning fans against discriminatory behaviour.
Silva, who has just moved from FC Porto to AC Milan in a transfer worth almost 40 million euros, has scored seven goals in eight games since his debut with the national team in a friendly against Gibraltar in September.
The city of Sochi released a statement insisting the parade was a "celebration of the different continents and a testimony of Russia's open attitude".