FIFA Confederations Cup kicks off in Russian Federation

Russia v New Zealand preview Hosts aim for winning start in Confed Cup opener

"I have a pact with the players and we treat these personal matters away from the national team". This one was similar to many others; not very good.

The Group A first stage match will be Russia's Confederations Cup debut, and it will come in front of a home crowd that has already sent thousands of fans to practices ahead of the tournament.

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. Group B has Germany, Chile, Australia and Cameroon. The Soviet Union took the honours in that game by defeating New Zealand 3-0.

Hudson junior himself, lacking none of his old man's confidence, insists New Zealand are not in Russian Federation just to make up the numbers.

The hosts almost went ahead after after seven minutes when Viktor Vasin's glancing header crashed against the upright with Stefan Marinovic well beaten. "We knew it was going to be a hard game, which was against the host nation and the first one". It will help dictate the tempo of the game in their favor and even help them gain the confidence to win the 2017 Confederations Cup.

In April 1996, the Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings displayed Russia as the third best-placed team in the world.




The man heading Russia's 2018 World Cup has insisted that the country has no "big problem" with racism, despite a report this week which shows there were 89 racist or far-right incidents at games in the country during the last domestic season.

"It is the first step to the English Premier League now", Cherchesov said in English as he looked across to his also-smiling forward at a news conference.

Anthony Hudson: "I'd much rather be in our position than Russia's". The underdogs will rely on striker Chris Wood to lead what has been a defensive squad.

"We coped with the task before us", Cherchesov said.

The Kiwis threatened only with back-to-back chances in the 78th minute: A powerful Ryan Thomas shot saved by Russian Federation captain Igor Akinfeev and Tommy Smith's header blocked on the line. The New Zealand side has drawn arguably the toughest group here, with each of their opponents having a lot to prove. Russian Federation has vast experience of hosting such events. New Zealand can also be watched via live stream on ITV Hub, FOX Sports GO and fuboTV.

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