Putin's pregame speech 'mobilised' Russian Federation - coach Stanislav Cherchesov

The start of the FIFA Confederations Cup football tournament is a great holiday for entire Russia, Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said on Saturday.

The new football arena in St. Petersburg is hosting the opening and final matches of the Confederations Cup, also dubbed as the Tournament of Champions.

The Confederations Cup, featuring the champions of the six continental confederations plus the World Cup hosts and defending champions, will be held in Russian Federation from June 17 to July 2.

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) - What Vladimir Putin wants, Vladimir Putin tends to get.

Federation Internationale de Football Association will also use the eight-nation World Cup rehearsal tournament to stress themes it wants to be more widely accepted in one year's time, including more actual playing time.

Likewise, Australia's trans-Tasman Sea rivals New Zealand should not be discounted as easy beats.

Van Basten said he believes "no one will complain" when referees add on longer periods of stoppage time, especially in the second half.

According to Igor Borunov of FIFA.com, Russian Federation needs to put the pressure on New Zealand early on the game by scoring a goal.

Arriving by helicopter close to the stadium barely 20 minutes before kickoff, he was soon installed in the main grandstand making a speech to launch the tournament.

"We'll hope that the guys play with full commitment, like real warriors and athletes, to at least please the fans with their effort to win".

"It's Portugal, not just Cristiano", said Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa after Wednesday's training in Kazan, Russia.

Putin this week demanded better results from the 63rd-ranked team to impress the Russian public. Though 50,251 were in St. Petersburg Stadium that still left more than 10,000 empty seats.

"If sanctions and education do not work then we have to take it further", said the Federation Internationale de Football Association official, who said it has prepared an anti-racism message from Diego Maradona to be revealed on Saturday. "I usually watch them at my house with my family and some of my soccer players", said Suarez, who also runs his own soccer club. We don't get a lot of opportunities to play top teams, so this was an unbelievable experience. "I don't know if it played a part or not". "We could have been more aggressive".

It would mean they would nearly certainly need to get at least a draw against world No 17 Mexico, and probably a win given their last group match was against European champions Portugal.

The All Whites are undoubtedly the weakest team in the competition but they should fare better than Tahiti four years ago - the Pacific island nation conceding 24 goals in their three group games.

  • Arturo Norris