Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Hosts Russia see off New Zealand in opener — FIFA Confederations Cup

Surrounded by officials FIFA President Gianni Infantino seen during his visit to Media centre prior the Group A soccer match between Portugal and Mexico, at the Kazan Arena, Russia, Sunday, June 18, 2017.

"It is a little hard for the players", Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi said.

This year's tournament is held between June 17 and July 2 at four stadiums in Russian Federation and they are Spartak Stadium in Moscow, St. Petersburg Stadium, Fisht Stadium in Sochi and the Kazan Arena in Kazan.

Russian Federation made sure of victory in the second half, with Fyodor Smolov's third goal in four internationals ensuring president Vladimir Putin, who called for improved performances in the event, was applauding happily in the stands.

With three points, Russian Federation will next face Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal in Moscow on Wednesday.

Doubts about the tournament surfaced when dates for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar were moved to November instead of June to avoid the searing heat in the region.

"Two hours before the match I received an email which said that my Fan ID had been cancelled, which means I was barred from entering the stadium", Shprygin told AFP. Federation Internationale de Football Association later released still images of a razor-thin offside margin.

"For us it is very important to make people in the country fall in love with the national team", said Smolov, who scored into an unguarded goal to finish an attack he started with a surging run into the penalty area.

"It underlines how significant it is having New Zealand compete at the FIFA Confederations Cup", said Shaw. Vidal angrily directed the referee - relying on his three video assistant referees (VARs) to interpret images he was not watching - to check them himself.

Federation Internationale de Football Association is also testing video reviews for referees with a view to the system possibly being used at the World Cup next year.

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

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

Vitaly Mutko, deputy prime minister and organizing committee chief, told Germany's Spiegel Online: "The attempt to portray Russian Federation as a risky country is something we know about, we also saw that before the Olympic Games in Sochi".

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