Russian Federation topple New Zealand in opening fixture of FIFA Confederations Cup

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has described VAR as “the future of modern football” following criticism of the technology during the Confederations Cup.

The 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup begins this weekend, as tournament hosts Russian Federation take on New Zealand.

Fedor Smolov celebrates scoring Russia’s second goal. Portugal and Mexico are other teams in Group A and will face-off on Sunday, June 18.

From Russia’s fourth corner, defender Viktor Vasin’s header saw the ball spin off a post and across the goalmouth before Michael McGlinchey cleared. Michael Boxall got a touch on the ball and was credited with an own goal.

Cristiano Ronaldo, netting 16 goals in his last 10 games, will certainly play a major role in Portugal’s sprint for the Confederations Cup.

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.

New Zealand’s best chance felt to Tommy Smith, whose header was cleared off the line by Yury Zhirkov but by then the damage was already done, and the All Whites will need to dramatically improve when they face Mexico in their next game, on Wednesday.

Russian Federation were denied a penalty after 14 minutes when New Zealand goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic appeared to bring down forward Dmitry Poloz.

“For the first time in history, our state, Russia, hosts the continents’ strongest teams”.

The main resistance to the Confederations Cup coming mainly from Europe and Germany in particular this edition, who have complained that the worldwide calendar is putting too much stress on their top players and have chosen to rest key squad members for this championship.

“When the president of your country comes out to make a speech this mobilizes us”, said coach Stanislav Cherchesov, a former goalkeeper who played for the national team before and after the fall of communism.

Russian Federation have implemented the special Fan ID, which allows visiting fans to enter the country without a visa and supporters to move freely between host cities for the duration of the tournament. “It allowed us to play”, Cherchesov said.