Tuesday, 22 August, 2017

Games, interviews & behind-the-scenes: RT starts special coverage of Confed Cup in Russian Federation

Russia New Zealand primed for Confederations Cup opener in Saint Petersburg FRANCK FIFE AFP
Damon Campbell | 18 June, 2017, 01:51

World champions Germany and the champions from FIFA's six confederations are competing in the two-week tournament that will allow Russian Federation to test its soccer infrastructure in four of the 11 cities hosting World Cup matches.

After New Zealand lost possession in their own half, Poloz's neat touch set up Denis Glushakov, who dinked his effort over goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic and off the post before Boxall bundled the ball into his own net.

Russian Federation cruised to a comfortable 2-0 win over New Zealand as the hosts made a confident start to the Confederations Cup.

Russian Federation went ahead in the first half of the Group A encounter through what was credited as an own goal from the New Zealand defender Michael Boxall, and Smolov wrapped up the victory in the 69th minute. Their record at the European Championships is little better, failing to get out of the group stage four times in the last five tournaments they've qualified for.

Russia's win eases the pressure on winning its second game, against Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal in Moscow on Wednesday. "It allowed us to play", Cherchesov said.

Smolov's goal was rightly ruled offside before Russian Federation took the lead on 31 minutes.

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

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Cullman High School left-handed pitcher Jacob Heatherley was chosen 77th overall in the third round by the Cincinnati Reds. Wolfe hit.393 last season at Walters State with 57 hits, 46 runs scored, 12 doubles and eight home runs.

Both teams were lined up on the pitch for an unusual pre-match protocol, looking up at the VIP boxes to hear from Russia's leader and FIFA President Gianni Infantino, before being able to complete their preparations.

"When the president of your country comes out to make a speech this mobilizes us", said coach Stanislav Cherchesov, a former goalkeeper who played for the national team before and after the fall of communism.

In the only match played Saturday, Smolov took his chance to shine.

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.

Participants in the 2017 Confederations Cup are hosts Russian Federation, 2014 FIFA World Cup winners Germany, 2015 Copa America champions Chile, 2015 AFC Asian Cup champions Australia, 2015 Concacaf Gold Cup winners Mexico, 2016 UEFA Euro Cup champs Portugal, OFC (Oceania Football Confederation) Nations Cup victors New Zealand and 2017 CAF Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) champions Cameroon.

The FIFA Confederations Cup is viewed by experts as a rehearsal for the organizers, with only one year to go to the FIFA World Cup.

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