Internacional

Hosts Russia see off New Zealand in opener — FIFA Confederations Cup

Hosts Russia see off New Zealand in opener — FIFA Confederations Cup

Russia's midfielder Denis Glushakov (C back) is congratulated after scoring the first goal of the match during the 2017 Confederations Cup group A football match between Russian Federation and New Zealand at the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint-Petersburg on June 17, 2017.

The Confederations Cup precedes the World Cup by a year to guarantee that the facilities and provisions of the host country are ready.

For Russia, who kick off the tournament against New Zealand, a good performance if not the title is expected as the national team continues its overhaul with a new generation of players following a poor Euro 2016.

Shprygin, who was twice deported from France a year ago during Euro 2016, said he had been notified by organisers that his fan-ID, needed to attend matches, had been cancelled.

World Cup holders Germany and Australia complete the group.

Before every major tournament comes an opening ceremony. Federation Internationale de Football Association inspections had also raised questions about the shock absorption capacity of the playing surface.

But empty seats remain a concern, with Russia's Sport Express reporting that some tickets were being handed out to state workers for free in a bid to fill the stands at an upcoming Confederations Cup match in Kazan. Moscow's Otkritie Arena, to be known as Spartak Stadium for the duration of the two Federation Internationale de Football Association tournaments, is the smaller of the capital's two World Cup stadiums at a capacity of 45,360, and opened back in August 2014.

So far, however the uptake has been sluggish, with only Alfa-Bank signing up in the new role. He gets reports from those in charge.

The organising committee could not be immediately reached for comment.

Scheduling of the next Confederations Cup in 2021 is a thorny issue.

It was Infantino himself who put the Confederations Cup on notice in November, when as part of his leadership review he said that everything was "on the table", including playing on a different date or with a different format.

"So, we're slightly deflated but the team showed a lot of spirit".

Smolov sealed victory with 21 minutes remaining, finishing simply from six yards after starting a move that led to Boxall failing to clear Samedov's threatening right-wing cross.

In the host nation, apparent brinkmanship meant that a TV deal was only confirmed in the week before the opening game.

Portugal boss Fernando Santos admitted on Sunday that the mid-game referral process was "confusing" but Infantino says he has been encouraged by VAR's test on the global worldwide stage with a year to go before the World Cup.

Though the system ultimately proved accurate, the time taken and manner of explaining decisions in the stadium and to TV viewers appeared chaotic.

"It underlines how significant it is having New Zealand compete at the FIFA Confederations Cup", said Shaw.

"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". If this continues, they will be entitled to suspend and, as a last resort, abandon the game.