Putin thanks Federation Internationale de Football Association for helping Russia in arranging Confederations Cup

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Stanislav Cherchesov says Vladimir Putin's rousing speech at the Confederations Cup opening ceremony gave Russian Federation extra motivation to defeat New Zealand.

New Zealand, meanwhile, were finding it tough to hold maintain possession of the ball, which led to a lack of chances.

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.

But Russia sealed victory in the 69th minute when New Zealand fail to react fast enough to Samedov squared pass across goal - and there was Fedor Smolov to slot home unmarked from just a few yards out.

Midfielder Denis Glushakov flicked the ball over goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic in the 31st minute as New Zealand defenders rushed back to try to clear it off the line.

The All Whites did look livelier in the closing stages, but Russian Federation managed to hold out to keep the clean sheet. The win puts them top of Group A, with Mexico and Portugal - the other two teams in the section - due to face off on Sunday.

Russian Federation has introduced a new scheme that will allow football fans to enter the country for the 2018 World Cup without a visa.

Russia's opening goal had an ugly finish after two pretty pieces of individual skill once the All-Whites defense needlessly lost the ball. A three-player race to meet the rebound off a post saw the sliding Boxall's trailing right arm get the final touch in a bundle of bodies. Tommy Smith then tidied up when Poloz poked a close-range shot slowly past Marinovic.

The opening ceremony turned the St. Petersburg Arena into the setting for a spectacular and bright show, with more than 2,000 actors involved in the performance.

New Zealand are now without a win in 10 Confederations Cup matches and struggled to make an attacking impression.

"When the president of your country comes out to make a speech this mobilizes us", Russian Federation coach Stanislav Cherchesov said through a translator. We played the match we have been planning for.

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