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MOSCOW, June 9. /TASS/. The national football team of New Zealand arrived in Russia on Friday to begin its training sessions ahead of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, which kicks off next weekend.
The football team of New Zealand arrived in Russia’s second-largest city of St. Petersburg from Ireland’s Dublin and was met at the Pulkovo airport by journalists and representatives of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) Russia-2018.
According to the team’s reports on Thursday, the football squad from New Zealand is scheduled to set off for Minsk, the capital of Belarus, on Sunday. The trip was organized for playing a friendly international fixture against the Belarusian national football team on June 12.
Led by Head Coach Anthony Hudson, New Zealanders are set to return on June 13 to St. Petersburg, where they are scheduled to meet hosts Russia on June 17 in an opening match of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.
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 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.