Putin present to see Russia kick off Confederations Cup

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The Confederations Cup has started in predictable but disappointing fashion for the All Whites, beaten 2-0 in the tournament opener by host nation Russian Federation.

Security will be a concern over the two weeks in stadiums that have been dogged by construction delays and structural problems. Portugal will play Mexico in a Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match scheduled for Sunday, June 1. The opening match of the FIFA Confederations Cup between Russian and New Zealand football teams has started in St. Petersburg.

The Krestovsky Stadium has been mired in scandal, taking over a decade to build at an estimated cost of $800 million, amid allegations of corruption.

Organizers insist the 68,000-seat arena is in top shape.

"The infrastructure, hotels, transportation systems - everything's ready".

"We're all feeling courageous and will take things on full of optimism".

While Germany are resting their senior players for the tournament, the Confederations Cup will benefit from the star appeal of Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Russian Football Union severed its ties with Shprygin's organisation following the incident.

"It is the experience and knowledge that will be of enormous value for 2018".

The result left New Zealand needing at least a draw against Central American heavyweights Mexico in Sochi in four days time to keep their now very slim hopes of advancing to the knockout stages alive.

They are the organizer country - Russia, the world champion of 2014 - Germany, the winner of the Asian Cup 2015 - Australia, the winner of the America's Cup - Chile, the winner of the game between the holders of "Gold Cup 2013" and "Gold Cup 2015" - Mexico, the winner of Oceania Cup - New Zealand, the European champion in 2016 and the winner of the African Nations Cup 2017 - the national team of Cameroon.Russia, Portugal and Chile will participate in competitions for the first time.

And Samoura said that 480,000 tickets had already been sold - 60 percent of the overall total. "He's been playing this game for several years, I'm just starting".

Since clashes between Russian and English fans tarnished the European championship in France past year, Putin has approved legislation that toughens punishments for violence at sporting events as part of a broader crackdown on hooliganism.

Some 191 fans have been put on a blacklist barring them from games and legislation introduced to toughen up punishments and deport foreign hooligans.

Although the Kiwis have struggled to find the net of late, coach Anthony Hudson will probably edge his team toward strong and solid in what figures to be a nervy, physical opener.

Russia, who are ranked 63rd as per the latest Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings, come into the game against the All Whites following a series of impressive warm-up games against Hungary, which they won 3-0, and Chile, where they were successful in holding their vastly superior Confed Cup participants to a 1-1 draw.

A good performance at the Confederations Cup will virtually secure him a fifth world player of the year award, equaling Lionel Messi.

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