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KAZAN, May 13. /TASS/. A theme park of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup was unveiled on Saturday on the square outside Kazan’s stadium, the venue of 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup’s matches, next to the city’s Kremlin. Brazilian footballer, 2002 World Cup champion Ronaldinho and Nigeria’s former attacking midfielder Jay Jay Okocha, a member of the victorious 1994 African Cup of Nations squad and champion of the 1996 Olympics, attended the opening ceremony.
"I’m so thrilled to be here. Thanks for your warm welcome. It’s an inexpressible feeling to take part in the Confederations Cup and the World Cup," Ronaldinho said.
"It is a great honor to greet the world’s prominent football players. Right in a month, we will be hosting the Confederations Cup. I am so delighted this sporting event will be held in Kazan," the city’s Mayor Ilsur Metshin noted.
On the first day, the visitors could meet global football celebrities, compete in multimedia contests for FIFA souvenirs and free tickets to matches of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup played in Kazan.
The charming wolf Zabivaka, the Official Mascot of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, was popular with the park visitors, both children and adults lining up for a photo opportunity with the character. The entrance is free.
On May 20-21, St. Petersburg will open its own Confederations Cup Park, following Moscow, Sochi and Kazan. Stars of Russian and world football are honorary guests in each of the parks.
The FIFA Confederations Cup, which is also viewed by experts as a rehearsal a year prior to the FIFA World Cup, will be held between June 17 and July 2 at four stadiums in Russia and they are Spartak Stadium in Moscow, St. Petersburg Stadium, Fisht Stadium in Sochi and Kazan Arena in Kazan.
Russia is currently in full-swing preparations for the global football tournaments after the country clinched the bid, following the final vote held in Guatemala on December 4, 2010 at the FIFA Congress. The victory came following a tight race against the bids from England, Portugal and Spain, in addition to a joint bid on behalf of Belgium and the Netherlands.
2017 FIFA Confederations Cup
Participants in the 2017 Confederations Cup are hosts Russia, 2014 FIFA World Cup Champions Germany, 2015 Copa America Champions Chile, 2015 AFC Asian Cup Champion Australia, 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup winners Mexico, 2016 UEFA Euro Cup champs Portugal, OFC (Oceania Football Confederation) Nations Cup victors New Zealand and 2017 CAF Africa Cup of Nations Champion Cameroon.
The Draw for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup was held on November 26, 2016 in the Russian city of Kazan. Following the event, hosts Russia was placed in Group A alongside with Portugal, Mexico and New Zealand. Group B has brought together Germany, Chile, Australia and Cameroon.
The opening game will be held 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.