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Russian fan leader banned from opening Confederations Cup match

20 Июня 2017

The eight-team Confederations Cup which runs until July 2 in St Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan and Sochi is being seen as a test for Russian Federation ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

Globe champions Germany and the champions from FIFA's 6 confederations are competing in the two-week event that will permit Russian Federation to check its soccer framework in 4 of the 11 cities hosting World Cup matches.

An own goal from Kiwi defender Michael Boxall and Fyodor Smolov's second-half strike gave the hosts the ideal start to the campaign as they prepare to host the 2018 World Cup.

Although Russia were under pressure to perform well on home soil after slipping to a record low 63rd in FIFA's world rankings this month, the country faced even more scrutiny over issues off the pitch in the run-up to the tournament.

Instead it was their Kiwi opponents who spent the large majority of the 90 minutes under the pump, Russian Federation scoring once in each half and creating numerous other opportunities as the All Whites were forced to continuously scramble in defence and survive on scraps in attack. Portugal and Mexico are other teams in Group A and will face-off on Sunday, June 18. Right back Alexander Samedov provided the assist with a square ball across the face of goal, and Fedor Smolov was in ideal position at the far post to poke it into the back of the net.

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New Zealand's best chance felt to Tommy Smith, whose header was cleared off the line by Yury Zhirkov but by then the damage was already done, and the All Whites will need to dramatically improve when they face Mexico in their next game, on Wednesday.

A chest-high pass to forward Dmitry Poloz was deftly guided into the path of Denis Glushakov who chipped the ball over onrushing goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic.

Russian Federation made a rapid start, with Aleksandr Golovin having a drive unconvincingly dealt with by New Zealand goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic, before the hosts were twice denied by goal-line clearances. "It allowed us to play", Cherchesov said.

Three of the previous nine tournaments have been won by the host nation.

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