Putin present to see Russia kick off Confederations Cup

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"We know they are top teams, but we are a strong team and we are going there focused on ourselves and the task at hand". "They've got the same mentality, the German mentality which is a very good one".

(AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky). Russia's Denis Glushakov, center, scores the opening goal during the Confederations, Cup Group A soccer match between Russia and New Zealand, at the St.Petersburg stadium in St.Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, June 17, 2017. They're going to be a team to keep a close eye on in the Confederations Cup, because it looks possible that New Zealand will be in the World Cup next summer, as well.

According to the draw, Group A includes Russia, New Zealand, Portugal and Mexico, Group B - Chile, Australia and Germany.

Stoke City legend Alan Hudson could never have imagined he would get so excited about a game between Russian Federation and New Zealand in St Petersburg.

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo exercises during a training session at the Arena in Kazan, Russia, on Saturday, June 17, 2017.

The hosts almost went ahead after after seven minutes when Viktor Vasin's glancing header crashed against the upright with Stefan Marinovic well beaten. "If you look at Russian Federation, I actually believe that the prospect for them is even more intimidating". The match between Mexico and Russian Federation will be played on Kazan Arena on June 24. "Forward Fedor Smolov will try to terrorize the New Zealand defense from the opening whistle, with an early goal sure to calm any nerves for the home team".

Although the readiness of stadiums has not been a major issue, the monitoring group Human Rights Watch this week criticized Federation Internationale de Football Association for failing to protect workers constructing Russia's World Cup stadiums.

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"The boss has the right to say [Australia are a chance to win the competition] and I believe in that as well", said Degenek.

Federation Internationale de Football Association has for the first time implemented a three-step procedure at the Confederations Cup that allows referees to stop matches in the event of racist or discriminatory incidents.

I'd much rather be in our position than Russia's.

New Zealand is expected to deploy a 3-4-1-2 tactic with Leeds United star striker Chris Wood and Melbourne Victory's Marco Rojas up front. We are looking forward to it, we are not panicking, we are not anxious.

The eight-team tournament will put Russia's ability to handle thousands of visiting and home fans under the spotlight. "It is most important that the preparedness for the Confederations Cup has been positively assessed by the Federation Internationale de Football Association representatives".

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