Hosts Russia see off New Zealand in Confederations Cup opener

If we see their past performances, they have scored only 2 goals in 9 Federation Cup games.

"We are slightly deflated", the Englishman said in the post-match press conference. "The main thing is that we took the lead. Hopefully, the arena in St Petersburg will be a lucky venue for our team".

Russian Federation made an impressive start to the tournament in Saint Petersburg on Saturday, winning 2-0 thanks to Michael Boxall's own goal and a Fyodor Smolov strike, in a victory that was more convincing than the scoreline suggests.

Russian Federation took the lead on 31 minutes after New Zealand lost possession in their own half.

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.

Shprygin, who had been deported from France past year during the European Championship, said he had been notified by Confederations Cup organisers that his fan-ID, needed to attend matches, had been cancelled.

But Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov, appointed after the country's disastrous Euro 2016 campaign, predicts a tricky encounter as he oversees his first competitive match in charge. The hosts were comfortably the better team against the weakest nation in the competition, yet they will be in for an infinitely more competitive game against Portugal on Wednesday. The team scraped a 1-1 draw with England before losing 2-1 to Slovakia and finishing with a humiliating 3-0 defeat by Wales.

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The New Zealand keeper made another great stop from Poloz after a swift Russian Federation counter-attack, while Samedov curled over from a free-kick as Russian Federation looked to put the result beyond doubt. Eight teams will compete to position themselves as leaders and for an opportunity to qualify for next year's World Cup.

Russian Federation as an independent nation has never faced OFC opposition before and will look to study the way the All Whites play in order to ensure a result comes their way.

"We're 100 percent ready".

Good luck to all teams!

"We have to be incredibly single-minded, mentally tough and we have to recover very quickly".

"There is no point in us being here if we're not trying to win".

"We don't play many games against top opposition so this was a big learning curve. we want to prepare properly and do everything we possibly can going into [the Mexico] game and get a result".

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