Russian Federation start Confederations Cup with 2-0 win over New Zealand [GALLERY]

Russian Federation start Confederations Cup with 2-0 win over New Zealand [GALLERY]

World champions Germany and the champions from FIFA’s six confederations are competing in the two-week tournament that will allow Russian Federation to test its soccer infrastructure in four of the 11 cities hosting World Cup matches.

Three of the previous nine tournaments have been won by the host nation.

Weak defending also allowed Russia’s Fedor Smolov to slip past the All Whites and tap in a low cross by team-mate Alexander Samedov to confirm the win in the 69th minute.

Nani (C) and Portugal players celebrate after their team’s 1-0 win against France in the UEFA EURO 2016 Final match between Portugal and France at Stade de France on July 10, 2016 in Paris, France.

But Russia would eventually find a game-clinching second goal.

“For us it is very important to make people in the country fall in love with the national team”, said Smolov, who scored into an unguarded goal to finish an attack he started with a surging run into the penalty area.

Portugal’s William Carvalho, left, and Mexico’s Raul Jimenez fight for the ball during the Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match between Portugal and Mexico, at the Kazan Arena, Russia, Sunday, June 18, 2017.

It was nearly as though Roldan forgot that he could use the review system.

In Group B’s first match Pepe’s goal was ruled out for offside after a review that took about 40 seconds.

“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 lovely play”.

“I am extremely happy with VAR so far”, he said in a statement. In March IFAB will take a decision over whether VAR will be used in Russian Federation in 2018.

Four incidents on just the second day of the biggest tournament so far to conduct live trials has created more controversy than Federation Internationale de Football Association expected. Portugal coach Fernando Santos was visibly displeased with the decision.

“The game didn’t go how we wanted to go”, New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson acknowledged.