MOSCOW, January 16. /TASS/. The Russian national football team is likely to hold its training session ahead of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in one of the European countries, Igor Vladimirov, a spokesman for the Russian Football Union (RFU), told TASS on Monday.
The football competition, which is viewed by experts as a rehearsal held one year prior to the FIFA World Cup, will be held between June 17 and July 2 at four stadiums in Russia and they are Moscow’s Otkritie-Arena, the St. Petersburg Arena, Sochi’s Fisht Arena and the Kazan-Arena.
"Russian team’s Head Coach Stanislav Cherchesov presented the RFU administration with a program of preparations both for the (2017) Confederations Cup and the 2018 World Cup," Vladimirov said in an interview with TASS.
"In December, he was personally examining several proposed places for the accommodation of the team and the training session, which will be most likely held in one the European countries in May and June," the RFU spokesman stated. "I believe that this issue will be soon settled."
"We also plan to hold at least two friendly matches for the Russian national team before the start of the Confederations Cup," Vladimirov added.
The Russian national squad is scheduled to play a friendly match in Sochi on March 28 against the team from Belgium, which currently holds the 5th place in the monthly FIFA rankings of the world’s best teams.
"We are doing our best organizing friendly matches against top teams and Belgium is definitely one of them," Vladimirov said. "By the way, seven years ago a friendly match between Russia and Belgium saw a full-house attendance at a stadium in Voronezh and we hope to see the same in Sochi."
"We also continue our talks regarding another friendly match, which has been provisionally scheduled for March 26," the RFU spokesman said. "We will come up with the information as soon as we settle the remaining details."
Seven nations have already qualified for the 2017 Confederations Cup and they are the competition’s host, Russia, 2014 FIFA World Cup Champion Germany, 2015 Copa America Champion Chile, 2015 AFC Asian Cup Champion Australia, 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup winner Mexico, 2016 UEFA Euro Cup winner Portugal and OFC (Oceania Football Confederation) Nations Cup winner New Zealand. The remaining eighth nation will be determined following the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
The draw for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup was held on November 26, 2016 in the Russian city of Kazan.
Following the draw, host Russia was placed in Group A alongside Portugal, Mexico and New Zealand. Group B brought together Germany, Chile, Australia and the winner of the Africa Cup of Nations, which will be determined in early February following the AFC finals in Gabon.
The opening game of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup will be held at the newly-built 68,000-seat capacity football arena in St. Petersburg on June 17 between Russia and New Zealand. Russia will face Portugal in Moscow on June 21, and on June 24 it will play Mexico in Kazan, the capital of the Russian republic of Tatarstan.
After the group stage matches, the two best teams from each group will go head-to-head in the semifinals, set to be held in Kazan and Sochi respectively. On July 2, Moscow will be the venue for the third-place match, while the final will be played again in St. Petersburg, just like the opening.
Since 2005, the FIFA Confederations Cup has been held one year before the most important global quadrennial football tournament, which is the FIFA World Cup. Both FIFA Cups are held in the same hosting nation and the preceding tournament is usually viewed as a trial event to test the facilities and preparations of the hosting nation for the World Cup.