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Vladimir Putin among huge crowd to see Russia kick off Confederations Cup

18 Juin 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, speaks before the Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match between Russia and New Zealand, at the St. Petersburg Stadium, in St. Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, June 17, 2017. Find out by following our live matchcast.

The Krestovsky Stadium was late in opening and came home well over budget, while serious problems have been experienced with the playing surface.

The New Zealand keeper made another great stop from Poloz after a swift Russian Federation counter-attack, while Samedov curled over from a free-kick as Russian Federation looked to put the result beyond doubt.

Smolov had an effort ruled out for offside before the opening goal arrived just after the half-hour mark.

Boxall was part of a five-man defence from the All Whites, but put the ball into his own net as he tried to clear off the line.

"I think that my rights have been violated", Shprygin said.

Smolov sealed victory with 21 minutes remaining, finishing simply from six yards after starting a move that led to Boxall failing to clear Samedov's threatening right-wing cross. "That means we still have plenty of homework to do".

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Smolov's goal was rightly ruled out for offside, but dominant Russian Federation was not to be denied, taking the lead on 31 minutes.

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.

Russia's interior ministry has blacklisted 292 fans, including 54 spectators who last month invaded the pitch at the Russia Cup final in Sochi, effectively banning them from attending official sporting events.

"We have visited Moscow and the St Petersburg stadium and I can say that every technical detail there has been fine-tuned and we can expect one of the best competitions ever here in Russian Federation", said the Senegalese FIFA official.

On Saturday, Russia marched on toward hosting football's biggest party when the rehearsal tournament, the Confederations Cup, kicked off in the $750 million new stadium in Putin's native St. Petersburg.

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Vladimir Putin among huge crowd to see Russia kick off Confederations Cup