Putin present to see Russia kick off Confederations Cup

Esther Moore
June 18, 2017

Russia's Denis Glushakov, top, chips the ball over New Zealand goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic to score the opening goal during the Confederations, Cup Group A soccer match between Russian Federation and New Zealand, at the St.Petersburg st.

It will be European champion Portugal, with Cristiano Ronaldo in top form, taking on Gold Cup victor Mexico in a game that is likely to decide the group victor.

The Portuguese sports daily A Bola published a front-page story Friday saying that Ronaldo was upset with the accusations made against him and that his decision to leave Madrid was "irreversible".

"It's a high-profile match", Mexico forward Hirving Lozano said. Last week we were watching some games that they [New Zealand] had been playing.

Like the All Whites, their team was drawn from a small base, with players spread across the globe and Wood hopes the similarities don't end there.

The eight-team Confederations Cup which runs until July 2 in St Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan and Sochi is being seen as a test for Russian Federation ahead of the 2018 World Cup. Sunday 18 June: Portugal v Mexico, 5pm; Cameroon v Chile, 8pm.

Russian Federation begin their 2017 Confederations Cup campaign against New Zealand as overwhelming favourites, with the host nation looking to use the tournament as a preparatory campaign ahead of the World Cup next year.

The other group contains hosts Russian Federation and continental champions Portugal, Mexico and New Zealand.

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Although the readiness of stadiums has not been a major issue, the monitoring group Human Rights Watch this week criticized Federation Internationale de Football Association for failing to protect workers constructing Russia's World Cup stadiums.

It is also an opportunity for coach Stanislav Cherchesov and his side to show what they can do on the pitch, although they will face far greater tests in their next two outings than what New Zealand provided here. "He is taking this competition very seriously and is fully focused on training and on the match against Mexico".

Asked if he was frustrated only winning by two goals, he added: "No, we are not really".

"Going into a tournament with eight teams, if you're not here to try and win it, what's the point?"

Ronaldo has scored 11 goals in five games with Portugal this season.

The Host of Confederations Cup looks incredibly strong so they are expected to score a couple of goals.

New Zealand had their first major chances when Ryan Thomas' powerful effort forced an impressive save from Igor Akinfeev and Smith's header from the resulting corner was hacked off the line by Yuri Zhirkov. The Mexicans won the title in 1999. Ten of its players are with Portuguese teams.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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