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Thrill of seeing Cristiano Ronaldo outweighs Russia's defeat for host fans

Cristiano Ronaldo avoids commenting on his future with Real Madrid following Portugal's win over Russia.
Cristiano Ronaldo's former Portugal teammate Simao believes the forward is at his best when he is under immense pressure.

MOSCOW -- Portugal's visit to Russia for the Confederations Cup is a great gift to numerous local fans of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Real Madrid star is extremely popular in the tournament's host country, as he is just about anywhere on the globe, and a number of Russia supporters came to the Wednesday game against the European champions wearing the shirt of Ronaldo.

The expectations for the Russian national team are so low that fans were not afraid to openly support the opponents. Dima Taranenko caught...

Portugal stars in waiting help Ronaldo shoulder the burden in win vs. Russia

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 74th international goal for Portugal as they downed hosts Russia 1-0.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 74th international goal for Portugal as they downed hosts Russia 1-0.
Cristiano Ronaldo avoids commenting on his future with Real Madrid following Portugal's win over Russia.

MOSCOW -- Cristiano Ronaldo might look back on the day he scored the only goal of the game in Portugal's 1-0 win over Russia as a seminal moment in his international career.

The Real Madrid forward -- yes, still Real Madrid, despite all of the noise to the contrary over the past week -- scored one and could have netted at least a couple more for the European champions in Moscow's Spartak Stadium.

But perhaps for the first time in recent years, maybe since the likes of Luis Figo and Rui Costa...

Russia have no chance at 2018 World Cup - Soviet legend Vagiz Khidiyatullin

While Russia defeated New Zealand in the Confederations Cup opener, many questions still surround their predictability.

MOSCOW -- Vagiz Khidiyatullin is one of the greatest Soviet stars of the 1980s. A graceful ball-playing defender who spent the best years of his career at Spartak Moscow, he was the defensive stalwart of the team that reached the final at Euro '88.

He also received the bronze medal at the Moscow Olympics in 1980, played at the World Cup in 1990 and was unfortunate to suffer torn knee ligaments in training just before the World Cup in 1982 (though included in the squad, he couldn't play).

The 58-year-old...

Confederations Cup hosts Russia under pressure to win but need luck

While Russia defeated New Zealand in the Confederations Cup opener, many questions still surround their predictability.

MOSCOW, Russia -- Hosting its first ever major tournament couldn't come at a worse or a better time for Russia equally. How is that possible? It's pretty simple.

Russia came into the Confederations Cup having fallen to their lowest-ever FIFA ranking: they're currently 63rd, between Uzbekistan and Haiti. You may say it's normal for teams not participating in qualifiers to slump given the lack of competitive fixtures but the downfall began well before they were named as hosts for the 2018 World...

Russia have something on which to build with win vs. lowly New Zealand

While Russia defeated New Zealand in the Confederations Cup opener, many questions still surround their predictability.
Hosts Russia earned a well-deserved 2-0 win over New Zealand courtesy of goals from Denis Glushakov and Fedor Smolov.
Hosts Russia earned a well-deserved 2-0 win over New Zealand courtesy of goals from Denis Glushakov and Fedor Smolov.

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- If every host nation could handpick its opponent for the opening game of a major tournament, New Zealand would be close to the top of the list, and Russia did not pass up the opportunity to make a winning start to the Confederations Cup against Oceania's champions.

In front of Vladimir Putin, Russia cruised to a 2-0 victory in the $1.4 billion Krestovsky Stadium. So emphatic was the host's performance that the only negative was that they did not win by six or seven...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Confederations Cup 2017 -- the opening ceremony in pictures

Opening ceremonies for major football tournaments are notoriously difficult affairs to make sense of, and the 2017 Confederations Cup equivalent did not disappoint.

Football fans across the globe got a taste of what they can expect at the 2018 World Cup counterpart next summer in this rehearsal display that showed just what a colourful and captivating country Russia is.

Here are some of the more memorable pictures of performers in action in St. Petersburg.

2018 World Cup mascot Zabivaka the wolf and Victoria Lopyreva, a tournament ambassador, were in attendance.
2018 World Cup mascot Zabivaka the wolf and Victoria Lopyreva, a tournament ambassador, were in attendance.
Clowns were part of the proceedings and helped to bring the noise.
Clowns were part of the proceedings and helped to bring the noise.
A DJ performed alongside some colourfully costumed accompaniment.
A DJ performed alongside some colourfully costumed accompaniment.
There was plenty of horsing around from the acts on show.
There was plenty of horsing around from the acts on show.
Plenty of fans turned up for the opening ceremony.
Plenty of fans turned up for the opening ceremony.
Dancers were dressed to impress.
Dancers were dressed to impress.

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