Russian team arrives in Moscow to face Portugal in Confederations Cup

The 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup begins this weekend, as tournament hosts Russian Federation take on New Zealand.

"To ensure security of events at the Confederations Cup, a group of forces and means of Russia's Emergencies Ministry consisting of more than 23,000 people, around 2,000 pieces of equipment and 66 aircraft is involved", a spokesperson from the Ministry told Russia's state news agency TASS.

The national football team of Russian Federation arrived in Moscow early on Sunday to face Portugal in the group stage of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, the team's official Twitter page said.

The Russians are aiming to avoid a recurrence of the violence at Euro 2016 when Russian and English fans clashed in Marseille before and during their teams' group stage match. Russia's best ever performance at a major tournament is reaching the semi-finals of the UEFA European Championship in 2008 and their recent results involve four friendlies - a 2-0 loss to Ivory Coast, a 3-3 draw against Belgium, a 3-0 win against Hungary and a 1-1 draw with Chile. It is waiting for the crucial exams strength in the next two games of the Russians, and the team is highly desirable not to fail them.

The 20-minute ceremony involved some 1,500 participants, who displayed various scenes of traditions and culture of four cities in Russian Federation, selected to host the global football tournament this year, reported Tass news agency. They also have very good team players like Fedor Smolov, Lgor Smolnikov, Denis Glushakov and more and Stanislav Cherchesov is the coach of the team.

President Vladimir Putin, for whom the tournament and the World Cup are prestige projects, said Thursday: "Let us hope that the guys will try to perform well, like real fighters". Although Michael Boxall helped the ball over the line and was credited with an own goal. "We made too many mistakes, but that means we still have plenty of homework to do".

Russia's win eases the pressure on winning its second game, against Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal in Moscow on Wednesday.

Hosts Russia, who drew with Copa America champions Chile 1-1 in a friendly last week, slipped to a record low 63rd in Federation Internationale de Football Association world rankings this month.

Both teams were lined up on the pitch for an unusual prematch protocol, looking up at the VIP boxes to hear from Russia's leader and Federation Internationale de Football Association president Gianni Infantino, before being able to complete their preparations.

A Confederations Cup trophy, never mind a World Cup title, might be too much to ask even for Putin, But Saturday was a start.

  • Zachary Reyes