Russian Federation eases to 2-0 Confederations Cup win over New Zealand

The 25-year-old midfielder praised the organizational efforts of Russian Federation to host the FIFA tournament. Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, speaks before the Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match between Russia and New Zealand, at the St. Petersburg Stadium, in St. Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, June 17, 2017.

Hosts Russia got off to a winning start at the Confederations Cup on Saturday, Fedor Smolov's second-half goal sealing a 2-0 win over New Zealand in Saint Petersburg in the tournament opener.

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.

"This is a challenging project, which includes transport, hotels and etc".

Russian Federation faces a test of its readiness to host the 2018 World Cup as the Confederations Cup kicks off in St. Petersburg.

"I thought I scored the opening goal but it doesn't really matter who was credited for it", Glushakov said. "The main thing is that we took the lead".

What is the Confederations Cup? "And it's a great football occasion", added Mutko, who is also president of the Russian Football Union.

For Putin, the World Cup is an opportunity to showcase the country to a global audience.

Africa's flag bearers Cameroon will begin their quest at the tournament when they face South American champion Chile at the Otkrytiye Arena in Moscow on June 18 as well.

Shprygin was among a group of Russian fans expelled from France after violence flared before and during Russia's Euro 2016 match against England in Marseille.

"It will be interesting how they go in the other games", the footballer stated.

"The clashes between the fans in Marseille past year were ugly", Alexei Sorokin, the CEO of Russia's organizing committee, told AFP in a recent interview.

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.

"But Russia's authorities have worked out a comprehensive security concept that will act during the major football tournaments here to avoid any chance of the repetition of such kind of events".

Russia 2-0 New Zealand: Hosts win Confederations Cup Group A opener
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