Russia 2 New Zealand 0: Hosts make confident start to Confederations Cup

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Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, speaks before the Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match between Russia and New Zealand, at the St. Petersburg Stadium, in St. Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, June 17, 2017.

After New Zealand lost possession in their own half, Poloz's neat touch set up Denis Glushakov, who dinked his effort over goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic and off the post before Boxall bundled the ball into his own net.

Hosts Russia got off to a winning start at the Confederations Cup on Saturday, Fedor Smolov's second-half goal sealing a 2-0 win over New Zealand in Saint Petersburg in the tournament opener.

New Zealand did their best to push for a goal and were narrowly denied twice with a little more than 10 minutes to play but bright moments were rare for the visitors as Russian Federation remained on top in the closing stages.

Federation Internationale de Football Association general secretary Fatma Samoura said on Friday that the estimated attendance for the tournament would be 65 percent, and that Russia's match against European champions Portugal had been sold out for weeks.

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With three points, Russian Federation will next face Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal in Moscow on Wednesday.

"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 attractive play".

However, it was Russian Federation who got the next goal in the 69th minute as Boxall failed to deal with Samedov's cross, which allowed Fyordor Smolov to tap into an empty net.

All Whites coach Anthony Hudson admitted to being "slightly deflated" after his side were convincingly outplayed in going down 2-0 to host nation Russian Federation in the Confederations Cup opener.

Cherchesov felt president Putin's pre-match speech which ended with the proclamation, "Dear friends, let us watch football!"

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"We knew the scenario with who was coming to the game", New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson said.

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).

The All Whites survived until halftime but the largely one-sided nature of the match continued after the restart and in the 68th-minute a slick build-up resulted in an easy finish for striker Fedor Smolov at the back post when the Kiwi defence was again unable to clear a risky ball into the box.

Russian Federation are automatically part of the Confederations Cup as they're hosting the tournament, as well as the 2018 World Cup.

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