Scoring chances came early for Russian Federation, playing with confidence and unexpected flair, a powerful header by defender Viktor Vasin bouncing off the inside of the post before being cleared by New Zealand's Michael McGlinchey off the line.
St. Petersburg, June 18: Russian President Vladimir Putin has thanked the Federation Internationale de Football Association for awarding the the Confederations Cup to Russia and for trust and cooperation during the preparation of the tournament.
Meanwhile, Russian fan leader Alexander Shprygin was prevented from attending the opening match, according to Reuters.
World champions Germany and the champions from FIFA's six confederations, including Australia, are competing in the two-week tournament that will allow Russian Federation to test its football infrastructure in four of the 11 cities hosting World Cup matches.
Portugal and Mexico, who meet today, are the other two teams in Group A.
The Krestovsky Stadium was late in opening and came home well over budget, while serious problems have been experienced with the playing surface.
New Zealand beaten in Confederations Cup opener
Having a Confederations Cup exactly one year ahead of the World Cup, at peak time for European leagues, would not be acceptable. New Zealand are now without a win in 10 Confederations Cup matches and struggled to make an attacking impression.
Poloz had a penalty claim turned down when he rounded Marinovic and went to ground, with referee Wilmar Roldan receiving no help from the video assistant - while Georgiy Dzhikiya's powerful strike was pushed wide by the keeper.
"We can play much better and perform much more skilled football than we showed today and we made too many mistakes".
Russian Federation took the lead on 31 minutes after New Zealand lost possession in their own half.
New Zealand's goalkeeper Marinovic, who plays in the German lower leagues, did well to keep the Oceania champions in the game in the second half, producing a fine double save from Poloz and Yerokhin and then turning away another effort from Rostov forward Poloz.
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.
"We don't get a lot of opportunities to play against top teams, so this has been an unbelievable experience for us, and we're going to learn a lot from this game".
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