Russia v New Zealand Preview & Tips
Will it be the dream start for Russia in the Confederations Cup or will New Zealand rip-up the form book on Saturday?
June 14th, 2017
As hosts of the 2018 World Cup, Russia have been given the rights to host the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and they will kick-off the tournament by hosting New Zealand in the opening game in St Petersburg on Saturday. Can the competition hosts get off to the dream start or will New Zealand upset the form book?
Russia avoided the need to qualify for next summer’s World Cup and as such they have been absent from competitive international action since their disappointing European Championships appearance during which they failed to progress beyond the group stage with one point from their three matches. This has resulted in their international friendlies being given added importance although Russia haven’t been too impressive on this front either.
Three defeats in their four friendly games is a dismal statistic in anyone’s book and new boss Stanislav Cherchesov is clearly in for a tough challenge ahead of the summer tournament. That said, Russia managed a win over Hungary and draws against Belgium and Chile, therefore they shouldn’t experience too many problems against a New Zealand side which are as much as 500/1 to win the Confederations Cup this year.
As for New Zealand, they have suffered defeat in three of their previous eighteen games but these have been against inferior opposition in the form of Oman, Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia. When faced with opposition of a higher calibre they have crumbled with the likes of Northern Ireland, Mexico and Belarus sweeping them aside of late. Russia have numerous injury worries ahead of this match but this should make relatively little difference with the hosts expected to win by at least a couple of goals in the opening game.