Russia eases to 2-0 Confederations Cup win over New Zealand

The news of his possible departure attracted the attention of worldwide media covering Portugal at the eight-nation competition that serves as a warm-up for next year's World Cup. The tournament will test the country's ability ahead of the mega event.

A small but hardy band of All Whites fans made the 16,000km journey from their homeland to the Confederations Cup opener in St. Petersburg, and although their team lost to the hosts, they scored a victory of their own. "We're ready to face a likeable New Zealand team but we expect a hard match (on Saturday)", he told reporters yesterday.

"We're 100 percent ready".

National coach Stanislav Cherchesov, however, was less optimistic in an interview last week with the DPA.

"Nothing is going to change", Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio said Saturday, a day before Portugal's Confederations Cup debut against Mexico in Kazan. They've long had mediocre results at major global tournaments, though, failing to qualify for three of the last six World Cups and not getting out of the group stage in the three they did reach. The Gold Cup victor plays Portugal on Sunday in Kazan.

Hudson set up the team in a 4-4-2 formation against Belarus in their final warm-up game, with Smeltz and Wood up front, and while he might adopt a more conservative approach against Russian Federation, he's expected to encourage Thomas and fellow midfielder Marco Rojas - nicknamed "the Kiwi Messi" - to attack when possible.

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The tournament's organising committee told Reuters it had launched a programme allowing "underprivileged Russian fans" to attend matches for free and that local authorities were in charge of distributing those tickets. He described that number as usual for such a tournament.

The Socceroos will be out to get their Confederations Cup campaign off on the right note when they face Germany in Sochi on Tuesday. "In our case, tickets for matches involving Russian Federation are in the highest demand", Sorokin said in comments carried by TASS.

Matches will be held at the stadiums, which next year will take the mundial. They kick off the tournament against New Zealand on Saturday night (Sunday morning AEST) in Saint Petersburg.

Cristiano Ronaldo is in the spotlight again, but this time not for his skills as a player. Real Madrid forwardwants to leave the club and Spain after being accused of committing tax fraud in the country, a report in Portuguese sports daily A Bola said on Friday.

"If there are opportunities to play we have to recognise that and make sure we do but we don't want to be chasing the entire time, we want to keep ball as well".

  • Regina Holmes