Russian Federation will be prepared to face New Zealand

World champions Germany and the champions from FIFA's six confederations are competing in the two-week tournament that will allow Russian Federation to test its soccer infrastructure in four of the 11 cities hosting World Cup matches.

Russia's interior ministry has blacklisted 292 fans, including 54 spectators who last month invaded the pitch at the Russia Cup final in Sochi, effectively banning them from attending official sporting events.

The Hermitage is now home to some 50 cats which live in the museum's cellars and catch mice.

Russian fan leader Alexander Shprygin has been barred from the Confederations Cup before the opening match in Saint Petersburg on Saturday which saw the hosts beat New Zealand 2-0. Control matches before the start of the Confederations Cup for New Zealand were not easy, and the meeting against Northern Ireland and Belarus ended in defeat with the same score 1: 0.

According to Infantino, the stadiums in Russian Federation produce a big impression and both tournaments offer a good chance for all to give a new impetus to football development.

Russia's first global match as an independent nation was a 2-0 win over Mexico in 1992.

Cameroon, Australia and New Zealand are not really expected to progress from the group stage, let alone fight for the coveted trophy, but they will attempt to defy the odds and at least improve their position in the Fifa Rankings. "We are here to watch some great football", Infantino said.

What is the Confederations Cup?

The Portuguese sports daily A Bola published a front-page story Friday saying that Ronaldo was upset with the accusations made against him and that his decision to leave Madrid was "irreversible".

"The game didn't go how we wanted", he said afterwards.

Portugal vs. Mexico in the 2017 Confederations Cup can be seen on FS1.

"The Confederations Cup is the main operational milestone on the way to the next year's World Cup".

Each team has won a prized championship: Germany the World Cup in 2014 in Brazil, Portugal the Euro just a year ago and Chile the Copa America in 2015.

"I believe we will have the same team as we did in this game against Portugal".

Federation Internationale de Football Association general secretary Fatma Samoura said on Friday that the estimated attendance for the tournament would be 65 percent, and that Russia's match against European champions Portugal had been sold out for weeks. "At the beginning we couldn't enjoy good control of the ball, but then we managed to balance things out and could have won it in the end".

And Samoura said that 480,000 tickets had already been sold - 60 percent of the overall total.

  • Julie Sanders