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MOSCOW, June 5. /TASS/. A friendly match with the Hungarian national football team on Monday night will be a good, as well as a very important test, for the Russian squad ahead of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko told TASS.
The Russian team, which is currently ranked 63rd in the most recent FIFA monthly rankings, will be playing its away friendly match with Hungary (ranked 33rd by FIFA) at the 22,000-seat capacity Groupama Arena in Budapest, starting tonight at 8:30 p.m. local time (18:30 GMT).
"The Hungarian team is a good squad coming from the middle-echelon," Mutko, who is also the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU), said in an interview with TASS. "I believe that this team, just like our team, is capable of showing a high-quality game displaying an utmost dedication."
"The Russian national team worked hard at the recently held training camp in Austria and now it needs playing several friendlies ahead of the Confederations Cup," Mutko said. "I believe the team is facing tonight a decent sparring and we are anticipating a very interesting match."
National teams around the globe are currently in the qualifying stage battling for a place in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, while Russia as the host nation has been already guaranteed a berth in the world’s main quadrennial football event.
Therefore, the Russian national team is playing friendly football matches in the run-up to the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
"Each friendly match yields useful information for the coaching staff and players in terms of future game tactics, analysis of players’ level as well as of the scrutinizing procedure regarding the team’s main roster," Mutko said.
"This upcoming match is important considering all aspects of the game and we hope that it would be another step forward for our team in the direction of the recently achieved progress," the Russian football chief added.
The Russian team is scheduled to play its next and final friendly match before the 2017 FIFA Confederation Cup’s kick-off against the national squad of Chile this Friday, June 9, in Moscow.
However, the Russian national football team’s managing staff, led by Head Coach Stanislav Cherchesov, is obliged to submit with FIFA the final roster of players, selected for matches of the 2017 Confederations Cup, before Wednesday, June 7.
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.