Putin present to see Russia kick off Confederations Cup

Elias Hubbard
June 19, 2017

The Anthony Hudson-coached outfit want to become the first senior New Zealand team to advance to the knockout stages of a major Federation Internationale de Football Association tournament in Russia and now need a serious change in fortunes for that to eventuate.

The over 68,000-seat capacity stadium created to host the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup matches was laid down in the western portion of Krestovsky Island in St. Petersburg in 2007.

Russian authorities insist that the Confederations Cup's ticketing system, which requires ticket holders to apply for a personalised fan-ID, ensures that all fans are screened and troublemakers are kept away.

"The game didn't go how we wanted to go", New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson acknowledged.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend the opener along with Federation Internationale de Football Association boss Gianni Infantino at Saint Petersburg's purpose-built World Cup 68,000-seater stadium.

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. In attack they have inconsiderable talents of Alan Dzagoev, Artem Dzyuba, and Aleksandr Kokorin, they have more than enough firepower against New Zealand.

Federation Internationale de Football Association will for the first time also implement a three-step procedure that allow referees to stop matches in the event of racist or discriminatory incidents - a new measure Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko welcomed as the "absolute right decision".

According to the draw, Group A includes Russia, New Zealand, Portugal and Mexico, Group B - Chile, Australia and Germany. Control matches before the start of the Confederations Cup for New Zealand were not easy, and the meeting against Northern Ireland and Belarus ended in defeat with the same score 1: 0.

"We are slightly deflated, but we were playing a very, very strong Russian Federation team".

The 16 matches are being shared by the capital Moscow, St Petersburg, Sochi and Kazan.

In the 31st minute, New Zealand defender Michael Boxall scored an own goal after Denis Glushakov had struck the post.

Host Russia were clearly the better side as they missed a handful of chances, but the three points was all that matters. "And we've took the full-scale measures to assure the event's security". Last week we were watching some games that they [New Zealand] had been playing. "We have a very, very good team, we have some good players in our team and the objective for us is to do something significant", he said. The tempo was high, we played a good game and achieved everything we set out for.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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