Russian President Vladimir Putin and FIFA President Gianni Infantino officially opened the tournament.
Russian Federation kicked off the Confederations Cup by beating New Zealand in a game over-shadowed by referee Wilmar Roldan failing to make use of the video review system.
Russian Federation went ahead in the first half of the Group A encounter through what was credited as an own goal from New Zealand defender Michael Boxall, and Smolov wrapped up the victory in the 69th minute.
Russian Federation have kicked off their Confederations Cup Group A campaign in style as they cruised to a 2-0 victory over New Zealand in St Petersburg.
The Confederations Cup precedes the World Cup by a year to guarantee that the facilities and provisions of the host country are ready.
Putin even got to meet Pele at half time.
After having two early chances cleared off the line, they took the lead when Michael Boxall scored an own goal after Denis Glushakov had struck the post.
Arriving by helicopter close to the stadium barely 20 minutes before kickoff, he was soon installed in the main grandstand making a speech to launch the tournament.
“We have visited Moscow and the St Petersburg stadium and I can say that every technical detail there has been fine-tuned and we can expect one of the best competitions ever here in Russian Federation”, said the Senegalese FIFA official.
“The game didn’t go how we wanted to go”, New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson acknowledged. “We have all the grounds to believe that everything will be successful and take place on a high level”. “I don’t know if it played a part or not”. Besides New Zealand, Portugal, Mexico, Cameroon, Chile, Australia and Germany have also sent their national teams to participate in the cup.
Madrid sports media is awash with headlines suggesting Ronaldo wants out.
“Cristiano is totally focused in helping our team”.
Russia, a record low 63rd in FIFA’s world positions, encounter Portugal on Wednesday and also New Zealand play Mexico the same day. Dmitri Poloz set up the chance with a through ball to Denis Glushakov, who tried to chip All Whites goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic.
Federation Internationale de Football Association will for the first time also implement a three-step procedure that allow referees to stop matches in the event of racist or discriminatory incidents – a new measure Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko welcomed as the “absolute right decision”. The president prefers ice hockey and saw a team that carried fervent hopes of an Olympic title lose on home ice in the quarterfinals at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.