Portugal, Mexico meet early in Confederations Cup

Posted June 18, 2017

"We have been changing a lot and it is a privilege to represent our country at such a high level", Cherchesov told a pre-match news conference. "They've got the same mentality, the German mentality which is a very good one".

Football fans shone with excitement as the Russian team won the opening match of the Confederations Cup against New Zealand.

Russia, a record low 63rd in FIFA's world rankings, face Portugal on Wednesday while New Zealand play Mexico the same day.

Germany kick off their Group B matches against Australia on Monday.

The Russian president made it a national priority to win hosting rights for the 2018 World Cup in a fierce Federation Internationale de Football Association bidding contest seven years ago.

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Russian Federation made a rapid start, with Aleksandr Golovin having a drive unconvincingly dealt with by New Zealand goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic, before the hosts were twice denied by goal-line clearances.

Russian Federation has the advantage over New Zealand in all aspect of the game from players, coaching and the home field.

The hosts poured on the pressure in the early going.

"We are the absolute outsiders among the eight teams", Cherchesov said. "Welcome to Russia", inspired his players.

The All Whites had a penalty claim turned down for a handball by Vasin but Russian Federation sealed all three points as Smolov started and finished a swift passing move in the 69th minute to extended their unbeaten streak to four matches under Cherchesov.

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I'd much rather be in our position than Russia's.

The visitors have not had the best of warm-up games, losing by a 1-0 margin to both Belarus and Northern Ireland but will now be banking on Chris Wood, a prolific striker who plies his trade in the English Championship. "We are looking forward to it, we are not panicking, we are not anxious", said Hudson.

Russia, on the other hand, will use a 3-5-2 formation with Georgy Dzhikya, Viktor Vasin and Fedor Kudryashov as the back three while the midfield is composed Aleksandr Samedov, Denis Glushakov, Aleksandr Erokhin, Dmitry Kombarov and Alexey Miranchuk.

Anthony Hudson's men will look to test themselves against world-class opposition and go further than New Zealand have ever gone at a Confederations Cup.

The fans arrived two days in advance - and have had a chance to enjoy arguably Russia's most picturesque city at an unusually spectacular time.

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To watch this match online in the United States, you can stream it on the Fox Soccer Match Pass subscription service, or for free on Fox Sports Go depending on your internet provider.