French legend Desailly opens 2017 Confederations Cup Park in Moscow (VIDEO)
The pop-up park will greet fans on Saturday and Sunday, providing a variety of football-related attractions and will display the Confederations Cup trophy to the public. The visitors will not only have fun, but will also be given a chance to win tickets to the event.
The park will then be moved to three other Confederations Cup host cities, appearing in Sochi on May 6-7, Kazan on May 13-14 and St. Petersburg on May 20-21.
“We’ve opened a park where we see a lot of kids and we’re all enjoying the idea and the concept of football and the Confederations Cup,” Desailly, who won a World Cup winner’s medal with France in 1998 and played in two Confederations Cup winning teams, told RT.
The 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, scheduled to take place between June 17 and July 2, is seen as a dress rehearsal ahead of the World Cup, which is being hosted by Russia in 2018.
The tournament will bring together champions of FIFA’s six regional confederations, the current World Cup holders Germany and host nation Russia.
With the likes of Germany, Portugal, Chile, Mexico, Cameroon, Australia, New Zealand and Russia participating, “it’s going to be an amazing tournament,” Desailly said.
The legendary defender stressed the importance of the Confederations Cup, saying: “It’s a competition in its own right,” not just a prelude to the World Cup next year.
“It’s great – it’s a high-level game. People have to understand that it’s not just a friendly competition… Tough teams are coming to play. We hope the stadiums will be full and we’ll create a great atmosphere around it and share the culture,” he said.
Winning the Confederations Cup would be a tough task for the Russian team, due to its lack of star players such as Cristiano Ronaldo from Portugal, Desailly said.
“But hope is there – because collectively they can try and do their best to please the people. And that particular feeling of playing at home can also allow them to [raise] the level a bit higher,” he said, adding that the Russian footballers should “be clever technically and tactically.”
The Frenchman expressed confidence that the Confederations Cup in Russia will be staged at the highest level due to FIFA’s experience and the fact that the Russian authorities are “trying their best to help the organizing committee.”
“We have the guarantee from the Russian side… that they’re going to raise the budget to finish all the infrastructure, transport and logistics, in general,” he said.
During the park’s opening ceremony, the Chairman of the Russia 2018 Organizing Committee, Vitaly Mutko, confirmed that the country is “completely ready” for the Confederations Cup.
"Ticket offices have opened in all the host cities. We expect a football feast involving the best teams in the world. I am sure that we will host the tournament in the best possible way," Mutko was cited as saying by RT’s Ruptly video agency.