A Confederations Cup trophy, never mind a World Cup title, might be too much to ask even for Putin, But Saturday was a start.
Portugal saw a goal disallowed for offside in their 2-2 draw with Mexico only after a lengthy delay, while Eduardo Vargas had a strike ruled out for Chile against Cameroon for the same offence despite video replays indicating he was onside.
A ballerina in a crimson dress, joined by a famous character from Russian fairytales, the Tsarevich, lit up a magic forest with their dance, while a number of Russian pop stars gave new life to folk songs, performing them in never-heard-before versions.
In the tournament's opening game at Saint Petersburg Stadium and with President Vladimir Putin, FIFA chief Gianni Infantino and football legend Pele all in attendance, Russian Federation made the winning start to the tournament that was widely expected of them against a lower-ranked New Zealand team.
Russian Federation kicked off their Confederations Cup Group A campaign in style as they cruised to a 2-0 victory over New Zealand in St Petersburg.
Both teams were lined up on the pitch for an unusual pre-match protocol, looking up at the VIP boxes to hear from Russia's leader and FIFA President Gianni Infantino, before being able to complete their preparations.
What time does the Russian Federation vs Portugal match start?
On the sporting side, the six Federation Internationale de Football Association confederation champions plus world champions Germany and hosts Russia are doing battle for the 10th edition of a tournament whose future is in doubt.
Federation Internationale de Football Association suggested in 2015 that Qatar could stage a Club World Cup in late-2021 as an "operational test event". "The main thing is that we took the lead".
The Confederations Cup opening game for Chile is against Cameroon, which should be one of the easiest ties Alexis's side, but surprisingly the coach has still chose to put Sanchez on the bench in case they get in trouble.
"We played them [Mexico] nine months ago and only lost 2-1 while having loads of chances".
"So, we're slightly deflated but the team showed a lot of spirit".
Television will play a part in the tournament in another significant way.
"I think this system needs time".
New Zealand is now without a win in four trips to the Confederations Cup, and next plays Mexico on Wednesday in Sochi.