Yet today stadium's, a palace of the global game, has a troubled reputation - it's a "Klondike for St Petersburg officials, ' or a 'monument of the rampant corruption" at the highest levels of Russian officialdom - with bloated bills, missed deadlines and a poor pitch.
Matches will be held at the stadiums, which next year will take the mundial.
Russia's president was in the $750 million new stadium in his native St. Petersburg to see forward Fyodor Smolov's 69th minute goal add to an own goal by New Zealand defender Michael Boxall in the 31st.
"And we naturally want to achieve better results than our team showed recently".
Silva, who has just moved from FC Porto to AC Milan in a transfer worth almost 40 million euros, has scored seven goals in eight games since his debut with the national team in a friendly against Gibraltar in September. Find us on Facebook too!
"He is an example for us, the way he works, the way he plays", Patricio said.
Russia's win eases the pressure on winning its second game, against Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal in Moscow on Wednesday. Portugal will play Mexico in a Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match scheduled for Sunda.
Eight teams will compete to position themselves as leaders and for an opportunity to qualify for next year's World Cup. Russia, curiously, are the only team in the tournament with a squad full of domestic players, with five players from the Russian Premier League Champions team Spartak Moscow.
After New Zealand lost possession in a unsafe area, Poloz's neat touch released Glushakov, who clipped his finish over Marinovic and off the post before Boxall bundled the ball into his own net as he and Smith frantically tried to clear. A three-player race to meet the rebound off a post saw the sliding Boxall's trailing right arm get the final touch in a bundle of bodies.
Marinovic kept New Zealand in the game with a brilliant double save in the 48th minute, denying Poloz on a long shot, then getting up fast enough to prevent Aleksandr Erokhin from scoring on the rebound. The home side will play against New Zealand in the opening match, one that will draw large crowds in St. Petersburg.
"For us it is very important to make people in the country fall in love with the national team", said Smolov, the 27-year-old FC Krasnodar forward who was named the game's best player.
But that mostly meant more space for a rampant Russian side to roam and, as they had done for the majority of the contest, the home side finished the match as the clearly dominant team.