Russian Federation can fight for Confederations Cup trophy - deputy premier

Russian Federation faces a test of its readiness to host the 2018 World Cup as the Confederations Cup kicks off in St. Petersburg.

The championship game will be played on July 2 in St. Petersburg.

A giant screen reports a VAR incident is being reviewed during the Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match between Portugal and Mexico, at the Kazan Arena, Russia, Sunday, June 18, 2017.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, together with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, as well as FIFA President Gianni Infantino, attended the opening ceremony and the cup's first game, which saw Russia beat New Zealand 2-0.

Russian Federation eventually broke the deadlock in the 30th minute as Denis Glushakov was played through on goal by Fyodor Smolov and lobbed on-rushing Marinovic.

Cherchesov's men were too strong for a limited New Zealand side and were unlucky not to take an early lead, Viktor Vasin heading against the post from an Alexander Samedov corner, with Michael McGlinchey clearing off the line.

New Zealand almost pulled a goal back in the 77th minute but Akinfeev produced a fine save to keep out Ryan Thomas' effort, before Tommy Smith saw his header cleared off the line a minute later.

"Here, on modern football arenas there will be tough, honest, fair fight until the last minutes of the match", Putin said in Russian, adding that the eight-team, two-week event would "unite nations and continents, to promote the values of fair and handsome play".

"I think that my rights have been violated", Shprygin said. "That means we still have plenty of homework to do".

The Kiwis threatened only with back-to-back chances in the 78th minute: A powerful Ryan Thomas shot saved by Russian Federation captain Igor Akinfeev and Tommy Smith's header blocked on the line.

Marinovic kept New Zealand in the game with a brilliant double save in the 48th minute, denying Poloz on a long shot, then getting up fast enough to prevent Aleksandr Erokhin from scoring on the rebound.

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

  • Julie Sanders