All Whites fall short in Confed Cup opener

Russia topple New Zealand in opening fixture of FIFA Confederations Cup

Russian Federation are now top of Group A, which has Portugal and Mexico also in it - who both will play the second match of the group on Sunday.

After the New Zealand "All Whites" had cleared off the line several times, the breakthrough for the hosts came on 31 minutes when midfielder Denis Glushakov raced through into the box and chipped the ball over Kiwi 'keeper Stefan Marinovic.

Andrew Kabuura and Daniel Amokachi recap the key points from Mexico's draw with Portugal and Chile's win over Cameroon.

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 two-week tournament.

The Kiwis threatened only with back-to-back chances in the 78th minute: A powerful Ryan Thomas shot saved by Russian Federation captain Igor Akinfeev and Tommy Smith's header blocked on the line.

Russian Federation eventually broke the deadlock in the 30th minute as Denis Glushakov was played through on goal by Fyodor Smolov and lobbed on-rushing Marinovic.

The Confederations Cup precedes the World Cup by a year to guarantee that the facilities and provisions of the host country are ready.

Ten minutes before kickoff, both teams lined up in front of the main stand to listen speeches by Putin and FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

Russia's president was in the $750 million new stadium in his native St. Petersburg to see forward Fyodor Smolov's 69th minute goal add to an own goal by New Zealand defender Michael Boxall in the 31st.

"If this is going to happen several times during a game, well it's not very pleasant for the players", Cameroon coach Hugo Broos said.

Scoring chances came early for Russian Federation, playing with confidence and unexpected flair, a powerful header by defender Viktor Vasin bouncing off the inside of the post before being cleared by New Zealand's Michael McGlinchey off the line.

"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 handsome play".

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