FIFA Confederations Cup kicks off in Russian Federation

Laura Christensen
June 18, 2017

Two of the top contenders for the Confederations Cup title are meeting early in the tournament, with Portugal and Mexico making their Group A debut on Sunday in Kazan.

Participants in the 2017 Confederations Cup are hosts Russian Federation, 2014 FIFA World Cup Champions Germany, 2015 Copa America Champions Chile, 2015 AFC Asian Cup Champion Australia, 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup winners Mexico, 2016 UEFA Euro Cup champs Portugal, OFC (Oceania Football Confederation) Nations Cup victors New Zealand and 2017 CAF Africa Cup of Nations Champion Cameroon.

According to the draw, Group A includes Russia, New Zealand, Portugal and Mexico, Group B - Chile, Australia and Germany.

Russian Federation and New Zealand will be battling on the pitch today to win the game.

Russian Federation won the right to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup and automatically became the host of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup as well. It is despite the notable absences of players such as Artem Dzyuba, Alan Dzagoev and Roman Neustadter. "They've got the same mentality, the German mentality which is a very good one".

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo exercises during a training session at the Arena in Kazan, Russia, on Saturday, June 17, 2017.

The World Cup holders will provide the sternest of first-up tests for the Caltex Socceroos - even if this is a largely younger squad as they rest some key men.

The hosts almost went ahead after after seven minutes when Viktor Vasin's glancing header crashed against the upright with Stefan Marinovic well beaten.

But weak defending allowed Russia's Fedor Smolov to slip past the New Zealand defence and tap in a low cross by team mate Alexander Samedov in the 69th minute.

This competition offers Russian Federation a chance to showcase its readiness to host the 2018 World Cup amidst off-field concerns surrounding hooliganism and security.

I'd much rather be in our position than Russia's.

"We are the absolute outsiders among the eight teams", Cherchesov said. That's how it is.

"We coped with the task before us", Cherchesov said. The Gold Cup victor plays Portugal tomorrow in Kazan.

But Wood - and coach Anthony Hudson - maintain their belief that something special is brewing inside the New Zealand camp. The midfield will be headed by PEC Zwolle's Ryan Thomas while the defense is going to be led by veteran centre back Andrew Durante of the Wellington Phoenix.

At Saturday's game there were two pre-game stadium announcements warning fans against discriminatory behaviour. Kickoff time is at 4 p.m.

To watch this match online in the United States, you can stream it on the Fox Soccer Match Pass subscription service, or for free on Fox Sports Go depending on your internet provider.

Other reports by TheDigitalNewspaper

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