Russian Federation start Confederations Cup with 2-0 win over New Zealand [GALLERY]

Doug Mendoza
June 19, 2017

New Zealand is not a frequent guest of the Confederations Cup.

Hosts Russia got their Confederations Cup campaign off to the ideal start, easing to victory against a toothless New Zealand in St Petersburg.

The Krestovsky Stadium has been mired in scandal, taking over a decade to build at an estimated cost of $800 million, amid allegations of corruption. "Russian Federation is ready", Colin Smith, director of competitions for global soccer body FIFA, said at a news conference in St. Petersburg yesterday.

"For Russia this is a great holiday, we have been preparing for it over the past several years".

"This is a challenging project, which includes transport, hotels and etc". We're all feeling fearless and will take things on full of optimism.

"The Confederations Cup is the champions' tournament".

The FIFA chief spoke before delegates of the Russian Football Union (RFU) in St. Petersburg. "Russian Federation is 100 per cent ready", Kolobkov said.

The games will be held at stadiums in Moscow (Spartak), Sochi (Fisht) and at the same arena in St. Petersburg (St. Petersburg Arena) and Kazan (Kazan Arena).

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"It is the experience and knowledge that will be of enormous value for 2018".

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. Besides New Zealand, Portugal, Mexico, Cameroon, Chile, Australia and Germany have also sent their national teams to participate in the cup.

And Samoura said that 480,000 tickets had already been sold - 60 percent of the overall total.

Shprygin was among a group of Russian fans who were expelled from France after clashes during Russia's Euro 2016 match against England.

Since clashes between Russian and English fans tarnished the European championship in France a year ago, Putin has approved legislation that toughens punishments for violence at sporting events as part of a broader crackdown on hooliganism.

Russian authorities insist there is nearly no chance of a repeat as police have cracked down on suspected troublemakers with a barrage of searches, detentions and criminal probes.

The Russian interior ministry has since blacklisted 292 fans, effectively banning them from attending official sporting events.

Other reports by GizPress

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