The 2017 Fifa Confederations Cup is underway in Russian Federation, bringing together eight of the world's leading national teams for 16 games across four venues and culminating in a final in St Petersburg on Sunday 2nd July.
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(AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky). Russia's Denis Glushakov, center, scores the opening goal during 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.
Hosts Russia could not have made a better start to the FIFA Confederations Cup, following up a spectacular opening ceremony with a 2-0 defeat of New Zealand in the opening match of the tournament, according to the official website of FIFA.
But weak defending allowed Russia's Fedor Smolov to slip past the New Zealand defence and tap in a low cross by teammate Alexander Samedov in the 69th minute.
Speaking before Portugal faced Mexico in their Group A opener on Sunday in Kazan, Infantino also sent his condolences to the Portuguese people following the forest fire that killed more than 60 people in the country.
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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.
"We knew the scenario with who was coming to the game", New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson said.
Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo has not played since sustaining a calf injury in April, and has been ruled out of Sunday's game.
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. The first warning sign for New Zealand came in the seventh minute when Michael McGlinchley was forced to hack off the line after Viktor Vasin's header came back off the inside of the post.
Vitaly Mutko, deputy prime minister and organizing committee chief, told Germany's Spiegel Online: "The attempt to portray Russian Federation as a unsafe country is something we know about, we also saw that before the Olympic Games in Sochi". "We are all with Portugal", Infantino said.
Russia's victory showed it can win a big game at home, even if Putin is in the arena.