Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Russian Federation wins 2-0 in Confed Cup


Stanislav Cherchesov says Vladimir Putin's rousing speech at the Confederations Cup opening ceremony gave Russian Federation extra motivation to defeat New Zealand.

Midfielder Denis Glushakov flicked the ball over goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic in the 31st minute as New Zealand defenders rushed back to try to clear it off the line. The win puts them top of Group A, with Mexico and Portugal - the other two teams in the section - due to face off on Sunday. We played the match we have been planning for.

Arriving by helicopter close to $750 million new stadium in his native St. Petersburg barely 20 minutes before kickoff, Putin was soon installed in the main grandstand and made a speech to launch the tournament.

"I believe we will have the same team as we did in this game against Portugal".

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"We're a tight-knit team and we really understand all the different phases we have to go through: when it's time to train we train, and when it's time to kick back and relax we do that too".

New Zealand lost possession 30 yards out, Aleksandr Erokhin and Dmitry Poloz quickly combined passes before putting through Denis Glushakov.

Coach Stanislav Cherchesov claimed that his players were given extra inspiration to fight for the victory after Russian President Vladimir Putin had given a speech to officially open the tournament.

Russian Federation convincingly beat New Zealand 2-0 at the St Petersburg stadium in front of 50,251 people, including President Vladimir Putin and FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who addressed the crowd before kickoff.

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It wasn't long before Russian Federation had the lead, and it came courtesy of an own goal by Michael Boxall.

Putin welcomed fans to what he called a "big football festival" and thanked Infantino and FIFA for the faith they had shown in Russian Federation.

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 president prefers ice hockey and saw a team that carried fervent hopes of an Olympic title lose on home ice in the quarterfinals at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

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