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MOSCOW, May 17. /TASS/. Russia’s nationwide day of mass football this coming Saturday will add fuel to the fire for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup’s popularity, Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said on Wednesday.
The day of mass football, under the patronage of the UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) and FIFA (the International Association of Football Federations), will be held on Saturday, May 20, for the seventh consecutive year across Russia.
"There is only a month left before the Confederations Cup," Kolobkov said during a news conference at TASS. "The upcoming football holiday will give an additional boost to the popularity of the (2017) Confederations Cup and the (2018) World Cup."
The grand stage for launching Russia’s mass football day across the country will be located at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. The holiday program includes various levels of competitions between amateurs and professionals, as well as training classes instructed by leading national footballers.
The FIFA Confederations Cup, dubbed the ‘Tournament of Champions,’ is also viewed by experts as just a rehearsal, with only one year to go to the FIFA World Cup. This year’s tournament 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 the Kazan Arena in Kazan.
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 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 go head to head with Mexico in Kazan.