Russia eases to 2-0 Confederations Cup win over New Zealand

Fyodor Smolov, who scored his team's second goal, added: "For us it is very important to make people in the country fall in love with the national team".

The win against New Zealand was comfortable, and the team played some fluent attacking football at times.

The Confederations Cup kicked off with host nation Russian Federation opening the World Cup rehearsal tournament against New Zealand.

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

New Zealand had their first major chances when Ryan Thomas' powerful effort forced an impressive save from Igor Akinfeev and Smith's header from the resulting corner was hacked off the line by Yuri Zhirkov.

The Euro 2016 winners kicked on again in the game's closing stages and Cedric netted with the help of a Hector Herrera deflection, but Moreno responded to earn a share of the spoils, with further talk of Ronaldo's uncertain club future sure to follow Portugal to their next match against Group A leaders Russian Federation.

Portugal's William Carvalho, left, and Mexico's Raul Jimenez fight for the ball during the Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match between Portugal and Mexico, at the Kazan Arena, Russia, Sunday, June 18, 2017. He is well-read, good humoured, and unlike Andrei Arshavin, formerly at Arsenal, or Roman Pavlyuchenko, who played for Spurs, he speaks decent English.

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.

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.

Coach Anthony Hudson says they're disappointed.

This competition is not only a chance for Russian Federation as a country to prepare for hosting its first worldwide football tournament but also a chance for the national team to pit their wits in competitive action.

A chest-high pass to forward Dmitry Poloz was deftly guided into the path of Denis Glushakov who chipped the ball over onrushing goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic. "We could have been more aggressive". "The way we played created a lot of chances for us so I don't see why that can't be the same this time around".

"At the start we couldn't enjoy good control of the ball but then we managed to balance things out and could have won it".

The tournament is traditionally used as a warm-up for the following year's World Cup and features the home nation, the winners of six continental tournaments and the reigning FIFA World Cup holders.

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