Start of Confed Cup is great holiday for Russia: Sports minister

Start of Confed Cup is great holiday for Russia: Sports minister

Start of Confed Cup is great holiday for Russia: Sports minister

Along with Team Russia, they will welcome teams from seven countries: New Zealand, Portugal, Mexico (Group A); and Germany, Chile, Cameroon and Australia (Group B).

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.

The dominance they showed against New Zealand is the dominance the Russians would want them to show against the likes of European champions Portugal, who they next face on Wednesday.

The tournament is traditionally used as a warm-up for the following year's World Cup and features the home nation, the winners of six continental tournaments and the reigning FIFA World Cup holders.

On Saturday, Russia marched on toward hosting football's biggest party when the rehearsal tournament, the Confederations Cup, kicked off in the $750 million new stadium in Putin's native St. Petersburg.

Host nation Russian Federation beat New Zealand 2-0 on the opening day of the Confederations Cup as they played in the tournament for the first time.

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"If this is going to happen several times during a game, well it's not very pleasant for the players", Cameroon coach Hugo Broos said.

There was also confusion on Sunday as Eduardo Vargas saw his apparent goal for Chile ruled out for a marginal offside over a minute after he had started his celebrations.

A chest-high pass to forward Dmitry Poloz was deftly guided into the path of Denis Glushakov who chipped the ball over onrushing goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic.

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.

Video review is on trial in Russian Federation and Infantino hopes it can be fast-tracked for approval at the 2018 World Cup to help referees overturn "clear errors" in game-changing situations such as penalty kicks awarded and offside rulings affecting goals.

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