SuperSport Defender Nets Own Goal As Russia See Off New Zealand

Modesto Morganelli
Giugno 19, 2017

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) - Host nation Russia beat a poor New Zealand team 2-0 on Saturday to open the Confederations Cup with a win that was all but demanded by Vladimir Putin.

Cristiano Ronaldo will put speculation over his club future firmly to one side as he leads European champions Portugal into their Confederations Cup opener against Mexico in Kazan on Sunday.

Infantino said it's important to make sure this year's Confederations Cup works well as a rehearsal for the 2018 World Cup.

The game itself was an open contest with plenty of chances, most of which fell to Russian Federation - clearly the better side throughout.

An the end of the ceremony, the mascot of the 2017 Confederations Cup, charming wolf Zabivaka, descended on an artificial cloud from the top of the stadium and made a first symbolic kick of the ball across the pitch to signal the opening of the tournament. Although Michael Boxall helped the ball over the line and was credited with an own goal.

"Here, on modern football arenas there will be tough, honest, fair fight until the last minutes of the match", Putin said in Russian, adding that the eight-team, two-week event would "unite nations and continents, to promote the values of fair and handsome play".

"Welcome to Russia", inspired his players.

"I liked New Zealand's team but luckily we managed to cancel out their strengths and displayed ours, and that was the key to our win tonight", Cherchesov said.

The news of his possible departure attracted the attention of worldwide media covering Portugal at the eight-nation competition that serves as a warm-up for next year's World Cup.

Speaking of our Confederations Cup predictions, we seriously doubt under-strength Germany side will reach the final stages, so our money is on one of Portugal or Chile lifting the trophy.

"This is why we play all of the hard games in the Islands".

"Any team having to face Ronaldo is usually considered second-favourites, and Portugal will believe their superstar gives them a huge advantage over the Mexicans in Russian Federation", the report noted.

But for the next two weeks the main thing on the mind of the reigning Ballon d'Or holder is winning more silverware in the eight-nation World Cup warm-up event.

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