Free Press Journal

Russia start Confed Cup with a victory

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St. Petersburg : Hosts Russia started 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup campaign with a 2-0 win over New Zealand. Striker Smolov and midfielder Glushakov fired a goal each to take their team to a comfortable victory. After this match, New Zealand are now without a win in 10 Confed Cup matche. Earlier, an official opening ceremony for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia was held in front of packed spectators stands of the newly-built football stadium in the countrys second largest city of St Petersburg.

The 20-minute ceremony involved some 1,500 participants, who displayed various scenes of traditions and culture of four cities in Russia, selected to host the global football tournament this year, reported Tass news agency. At the end of the ceremony, the mascot of the 2017 Confederations Cup, charming wolf Zabivaka, descended on an artificial cloud from the top of the stadium and made a first symbolic kick of the ball across the pitch to signal the opening of the tournament. The over 68,000-seat capacity stadium is designed to host the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2018 World Cup matches.