(AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky). Russia's Denis Glushakov, center, scores the opening goal during 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.
But Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov, appointed after the country's disastrous Euro 2016 campaign, predicts a tricky encounter as he oversees his first competitive match in charge.
But Mutko was prickly when reminded that Human Rights Watch reported this week that workers for World Cup stadiums - including immigrant North Koreans - had been left unpaid, made to work in dangerously cold conditions or suffered reprisals for raising concerns.
Vitaly Mutko, deputy prime minister and organizing committee chief, told Germany's Spiegel Online: "The attempt to portray Russian Federation as a risky country is something we know about, we also saw that before the Olympic Games in Sochi". Also, the team having some young players in their squad list on both of the defence and attacks. We had some successes but it's only natural that we will want to bring forward the tradition of success. Nevertheless, in this match I think victory will be for Russian Federation, and with a difference of 2 goals - 2: 0, 3: 1.
New Zealand is not a frequent guest of the Confederations Cup.
The four host cities will also hold World Cup matches June next year along with seven other venues.
Host Russia were clearly the better side as they missed a handful of chances, but the three points was all that matters.
"It's the most magnificent of jobs he has now, living in a lovely country like New Zealand and being able to travel the world". The teams drew 0-0 in a friendly in 1969, and in 2014 Portugal won 1-0 in another exhibition match.
"We've worked hard and I believe now we're well-prepared for the opening game", Zenit midfielder Igor Smolnikov told Russian TV.
"We wanted to play in their half".
"We're all feeling courageous and will take things on full of optimism".
If the message was not crystal clear for the host team, Putin was in attendance in St Petersburg to ensure first-hand his words were heeded. The Gold Cup victor plays Portugal on Sunday in Kazan. At 29 Wagner is something of a late worldwide bloomer, but helped himself to a hat-trick against San Marino this week in his competitive debut, after top scoring in the Bundesliga in the last calendar year for Hoffenheim. "I have a pact with the players and we treat these personal matters away from the national team". "He is taking this competition very seriously and is fully focused on training and on the match against Mexico". Confed Cup oracle Achilles has predicted that Russian Federation will win in the game - sort of. "Every game is a reason for us to get together and cheer for our Mexico lindo y querido!"