Hosts Russia Ease Past New Zealand In Confed Cup Opener

Russia unveils ‘psychic’ cat ahead of Confederations Cup

Host nation Russian Federation beat New Zealand 2-0 on the opening day of the Confederations Cup as they played in the tournament for the first time.

The over 68,000-seat capacity stadium created to host the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup matches was laid down in the western portion of Krestovsky Island in St. Petersburg in 2007. Just months earlier they were bundled out of Euro 2016 in the group stage without winning a match.

"We can take confidence that we played Mexico a year ago and did very well (a 2-1 loss), we know that team well and we have an extra day to recover than them".

World Cup winners Germany are in Group B alongside Chile, Cameroon and Australia.

World champions Germany, Ronaldo's Portugal and south American champions Chile are amongst the favourites to win the final in St Petersburg on July 2.

But empty seats remain a concern, with Russia's Sport Express reporting that some tickets were being handed out to state workers for free in a bid to fill the stands at an upcoming Confederations Cup match in Kazan.

Stanislav Cherchesov's team will be without striker Artem Dzyuba, playmaker Alan Dzagoev and midfielder Roman Zobnin here due to injury.

Michael Boxall, left, and Tommy Smith are too late to prevent Russian Federation taking a lead in the first half.

Smolov had an effort ruled out for offside before the opening goal arrived just after the half-hour mark.

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This game would appear to offer the Caltex Socceroos their best chance of a win in Russian Federation, but it won't be easy against a side making their third appearance at the Confederations Cup.

"The make-up of our team has often been scenarios like that where we haven't always been able to get our best players together". "They can't possibly lose to a team like New Zealand".

The FIFA Confederations Cup is viewed by experts as a rehearsal for the organisers, with only one year to go to the FIFA World Cup.

I'd much rather be in our position than Russia's.

"The first game for us is Russian Federation, so we're going to go into that game with a gameplan of wanting to win that game". That's how it is. "We are looking forward to it, we are not panicking, we are not anxious", said Hudson. New Zealand will truly have to do a lot because their condition is troubling.

But Wood - and coach Anthony Hudson - maintain their belief that something special is brewing inside the New Zealand camp. SpVgg Unterhaching's Stefan Marinovic is the man in between the sticks for the All Whites. Finally, Russia's attack is going to be headed by Fedor Smolov and Aleksandr Golovin.

At Saturday's game there were two pre-game stadium announcements warning fans against discriminatory behaviour. Kickoff time is at 4 p.m.

Live stream: Watch live on Fubo TV.

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