Hosts Russia see off New Zealand in opener — FIFA Confederations Cup

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Host nation Russian Federation beat a poor New Zealand team 2-0 on Saturday to open the Confederations Cup with a win that was all but demanded by Vladimir Putin.

Russian Federation made sure of victory in the second half, with Fyodor Smolov's third goal in four internationals ensuring president Vladimir Putin, who called for improved performances in the event, was applauding happily in the stands.

Russia, a record low 63rd in FIFA's world rankings, face Portugal on Wednesday while New Zealand play Mexico the same day.

The Russian president made it a national priority to win hosting rights for the 2018 World Cup in a fierce Federation Internationale de Football Association bidding contest seven years ago.

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The potential availability of one of the world's most marketable players will also naturally alert the Chinese Super League clubs. Real insisted they were "absolutely convinced" Ronaldo would prove his innocence and pledged him the club's "full confidence".

Smith acknowledged that Russian Federation had done "some intense fine-tuning" ahead of the tournament. As a whole, 8 countries take part in the Confederations Cup.

Next year's World Cup will take place in 12 stadiums spread across 11 cities, including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, and Sochi, the host cities for the Confederations Cup.

The All-Whites won every match they played in the OFC Nations Cup until having to settle for a penalty shootout win in the final after a scoreless regulation period.

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

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As a result he feels hurt and angry and has made up his mind that he no longer wants to play in La Liga . He has completed eight seasons in Madrid and in November he also extended his contract till 2021.

Group B consists of Cameroon, Chile, Australia and world champions Germany.

The New Zealand keeper made another great stop from Poloz after a swift Russian Federation counter-attack, while Alexander Samedov curled over from a free-kick as Russian Federation looked to put the result beyond doubt.

Putin had also asked the players to perform like warriors, though they hardly needed to be war-like in dispatching No. 95 New Zealand, which seemed to find the world stage too big. We will prepare together the best tournament, Infantino said. "But we're a great side too, and I'm sure we can stop him", striker Raul Jimenez, a Portuguese league and cup double victor with Benfica said.

But for the next two weeks the main thing on the mind of the reigning Ballon d'Or holder is winning more silverware in the eight-nation World Cup warm-up event.

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Kohli said: "I congratulated them in the post-match presentation and I would do the same here because they deserved to win". In Champions Trophy history, 2013 has been the only edition in which the team batting first won the final.

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