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Russian arrivals: Teams touch down in Russia ahead of Confed Cup kick-off

15 Jun, 2017 19:54
Russian arrivals: Teams touch down in Russia ahead of Confed Cup kick-off
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/ Reuters

Each of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup teams have now arrived in Russia and are enjoying their first taste of the four host cities, ahead of the tournament’s opening games this weekend.

All the teams competing at the ‘Tournament of Champions’ have now arrived at the host cities where their first matches in the group stage are taking place.

The Russian national team flew from their Moscow hotel base and landed at Pulkovo Airport, St. Petersburg, on Thursday ahead of their opening match against New Zealand on Saturday at the purpose-built St. Petersburg Stadium on the city’s Krestovsky Island.

READ MORE: FIFA Confederations Cup: The story of the tournament

Stanislav Cherchesov’s squad held an open training session for fans and media yesterday before setting off. More than 4,000 spectators were in the stands for the workout, who even celebrated when goals were scored.

The Russian team certainly looked dapper in their matching all-gray three-piece suits leaving their Moscow hotel...

...and ‘Sbornaya’ seemingly left the grey skies of Moscow behind and were met by sunny weather on arrival in the northern city.

Their opening match opponents New Zealand have already been in Russia for several days, and have taken the chance to train at St. Petersburg’s Petrovsky Stadium – the former home of Zenit St. Petersburg – before they face the hosts on Saturday in Group A. 

 

The Confederations Cup curtain raiser between Russia and the All Whites will be played at St. Petersburg Stadium on Saturday at 6pm local time (MSK).

READ MORE: 2017 Confederations Cup - New Zealand: The Road to Russia

Elsewhere, Group A team Portugal have been getting a taste of Kazan, capital of Russia's Republic of Tatarstan, where they arrived on Wednesday evening.

Led by current Ballon d'Or holder Cristiano Ronaldo, the European champions line up to face Mexico at the city's riverside stadium Kazan Arena on Sunday.

Ronaldo and co. clearly looked like they were enjoying themselves.

Ronaldo was also met with a mural in his honor outside the team’s hotel. 

Despite their international prowess, Portugal will be making their first appearance at a Confederations Cup tournament. 

Their opponents on Sunday, CONCACAF Gold Cup holders Mexico, have also been going through their paces in the city.

Before setting off for Russia, coach Juan Carlos Osorio’s team played two 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, beating Honduras 3-0 and drawing against USA 1-1.

The Mexicans won the 1999 Confederations Cup, making them the only previous Confed Cup champions taking part in this year's edition. 

World champions Germany touched down in Russia on Thursday. Goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen used the flight time to swot up on Russia and its culture.

After landing in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Joachim Löw’s men were quick to hit the training ground.

Die Mannschaft face Australia in their opening game at Fisht Stadium on Monday. Germany's best FIFA Confederations Cup result to date is 3rd place which they achieved at their home tournament in 2005. 

The Socceroos also jetted in from Down Under on early Thursday afternoon, making the long flight to Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport after playing a friendly game against Brazil in Melbourne on Tuesday.

The very last team to arrive in Russia for the tournament, it’s probably just as well they have Friday and the weekend to recover from the jet lag before they take on Germany on Monday.

Australia will take on world champions Germany in Sochi on 19 June, Cameroon in Saint Petersburg on 22 June and Chile in Moscow on 25 June.

The current Asian champions will be participating in their fourth FIFA Confederations Cup after featuring in the 1997, 2001 and 2005 editions.

READ MORE: Australia, Cameroon & Chile all suffer losses in final Confed Cup warm-up games

Their Group B rivals Chile and Cameroon arrived in Moscow earlier in the week – in Chile’s case after returning from Romania, where they played a friendly on Tuesday, following their game last Friday against Russia in Moscow.

Goalkeeper Johnny Herrera managed to get some sightseeing done earlier in Moscow, taking in the famous Red Square.

The Copa America champions Chile face Africa Cup of Nations winners Cameroon at Spartak Stadium in Moscow on Sunday.

The Indomitable Lions, who were the last team to qualify for the tournament after their Africa Cup of Nations triumph in February, touched down in the Russian capital on Wednesday, to be met by the current drizzly weather.

That surely won’t be enough to dampen the players’ spirits, though, as Hugo Broos’ team look to better their best Confed Cup achievement to date in reaching the final in 2003, where they were ousted by hosts and reigning world and European champions France. 

The FIFA 2017 Confederations Cup is being played across four cities in Russia – Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan and Sochi – between June 17 and July 2. It’s seen as a precursor to the World Cup, which will be held in Russia next summer.