Fans Celebrate Russia's Win In Confederations Cup Opener

Vincent De Villiers
Junho 20, 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin, together with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, as well as FIFA President Gianni Infantino, attended the opening ceremony and the cup's first game, which saw Russia beat New Zealand 2-0.

But the venue, which will also host the final on July 2, came through this opening test unscathed, even if there was a considerable number of empty seats.

Smolov was named Budweiser Man of the Match, while New Zealand now have two unwanted Tournament of Champions records to their name, having gone 513 minutes without scoring in the competition and ten matches without winning.

"The fact the leader of the country came to the match is on the one hand an additional positive, but it is also an additional responsibility", Russian Federation manager Stanislav Cherchesov said.

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.

"For us it is very important to make people in the country fall in love with the national team", said Smolov.

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.

It took about 30 seconds for the decision to be announced.

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Nani was already celebrating with his teammates when Argentine referee Nestor Pitana asked for the ball and indicated the goal was being reviewed.

But Russia did increase their lead with just over 20 minutes left, Smolov finding Samedov on the right and then arriving unmarked in the box to convert his team-mate's cross.

"It's the new rule, and if it brings benefits to football, that's fine", Portugal coach Fernando Santos said.

"I thought I scored the opening goal but it doesn't really matter who was credited for it", Glushakov said.

At Saturday's game there were two pre-game stadium announcements warning fans against discriminatory behaviour.

Alexis Sanchez came off the bench for Chile against Cameroon.

VAR has been at the heart of the tournament so far, but it remains a work in progress. The Chilean striker became the first player in football history with a goal denied and confirmed by the VAR.

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