Hosts Russia see off New Zealand in Confederations Cup opener

Confederations Cup 2017 Preview: Group A

The last time Mexico and Portugal met was during a warm-up match for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and Bruno Alves had won the game for the Portuguese.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, speaks before 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.

The result preserves an important run for each side.

The Confederations Cup Group A match between Portugal and Mexico will kick off at 6:00pm local time, 8:30pm IST and 11:00am EST.

Mexico, the 1999 winners, struggled to match Fernando Santos' side as Portugal hit their stride halfway through the first half and Ronaldo provided Quaresma with a simple finish after the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) had ruled out a goal for Nani.

With Putin no doubt starting to shift uneasily in his seat, Russian Federation finally broke the deadlock after 31 minutes - Denis Glushakov's delicate chip over the advancing Marinovic bundled over the line with FIFA crediting unfortunate New Zealand defender Michael Boxall with the final touch.

Midfield dynamo Ryan Thomas was a shining light for the visitors. "If we don't pick up three points our chances of getting through versus Portugal might not be that high".

Russian Federation added a second through Fedor Smolov to seal the game, after he had also had a goal disallowed in the first half.

The 28-year-old South African-based player said it capped off what had not been a disappointing night personally, but for the team as a whole.

The home fans at this arena - estimated to have cost some €700m more than it should have - offered immediate impetus to the men in red, most of whom are unfamiliar figures to casual observers.

"We were a bit unlucky in that game".

"The game didn't go like we wanted it. and they caused us problems".

Smolov then doubled his country's lead after starting and finishing a free-flowing move in the 69th minute. He plays for Krasnodar, who finished fourth in the RPL this past season, and has been top scorer in Russian Federation for the last two campaigns.

The new football arena in St. Petersburg is hosting the opening and final matches of the Confederations Cup, also dubbed as the Tournament of Champions.

But the Portugal captain created another shooting opportunity for Quaresma with 10 minutes remaining and, although Ochoa saved comfortably, they continued to pile late pressure on Mexico.

"Although it was a friendly, we prepared very well for that [October] game so it's just touching up a few things".

In the pre-match press conference, Osorio showed respect for Portugal, but also warned of his own team's attacking prowess.

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