Stanislav Cherchesov says Vladimir Putin’s rousing speech at the Confederations Cup opening ceremony gave Russia extra motivation to defeat New Zealand.

Russia made an impressive start to the tournament in Saint Petersburg on Saturday, winning 2-0 thanks to Michael Boxall’s own goal and a Fyodor Smolov strike, in a victory that was more convincing than the scoreline suggests.

The hosts now take on Portugal on Wednesday after Fernando Santos’ men have played Mexico in their Group A opener.

Cherchesov felt president Putin’s pre-match speech which ended with the proclamation, “Dear friends, let us watch football! Welcome to Russia!” inspired his players.

Федор Смолов!

— Сборная России (@TeamRussia) June 17, 2017

Putin, who urged Russia to improve their performances in the build-up to the tournament, seemed to enjoy the match and was seen happily applauding Smolov’s strike as he sat in the stands alongside FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

“When the president of our country comes out to make a speech it mobilises us and gives us great motivation, but it also adds to our responsibilities,” Cherchesov told reporters.

“We achieved a very good result and at times a very good game. We played the match we have been planning for.

“I believe we will have the same team as we did in this game against Portugal.”

Asked if he was frustrated only winning by two goals, he added: “No, we are not really. It is clear that when your opponent kicks the ball off the line it is disappointing, but we had a lot of chances and will learn from the experience.”

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