An official opening ceremony for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russian Federation was held in front of packed spectators stands of the newly-built football stadium in the countrys second largest city of St Petersburg.
From Saturday to July 2, Russian Federation is hosting the Confederations, the main warm-up event for next year's World Cup.
"Last week we were watching some games that they [New Zealand] had been playing".
Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend the opener along with Federation Internationale de Football Association boss Gianni Infantino at Saint Petersburg's purpose-built World Cup 68,000-seater stadium.
"We represent German football here".
Clearly buoyed, Russian Federation lifted the tempo further during the closing 15 minutes of the half, forcing New Zealand to continued to scramble in defence and live off scraps in attack.More news: Masters champion Garcia hungry for more major trophies
Russian authorities insist that the Confederations Cup's ticketing system, which requires ticket holders to apply for a personalised fan-ID, ensures that all fans are screened and troublemakers are kept away. Organisers have laid fresh turf at the Krestovsky Stadium to allay fears over the condition of the pitch that prompted Zenit to shift their final league match to their former ground. The team scraped a 1-1 draw with England before losing 2-1 to Slovakia and finishing with a humiliating 3-0 defeat by Wales.
"I believe we will have the same team as we did in this game against Portugal". "The most important thing for us is to develop the players". And we've took the full-scale measures to assure the event's security. "Hopefully, the arena in Saint Petersburg will be a lucky venue for our team".
One of the big talking points in the build-up to the Confederations Cup was video assistant referees, who essentially serve as an instant replay system and are being utilized for the first time in a major global tournament.
"The chances of losing the right to attend Confederations Cup and World Cup matches are significantly increased for people who are known to have committed serious violations", the organising committee said in comments e-mailed to Reuters.
Russian Federation go into the tournament opener as favorites but the question is: can the hosts, who have some young players both in defense and in attack, show their best under psychological pressure?
FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura said Russia's readiness had "surpassed expectations". "Among the public, I don't think that there are big expectations at the moment, so maybe it's good that there's not too much pressure on us", said Smolov.