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MOSCOW, June 10. /TASS/. Russia and Chile played a 1:1 draw in Moscow on Friday ahead of this year’s football Confederation’s Cup. Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Russian Football Union President Vitaly Mutko told TASS before the game it was a dress rehearsal for the national squad.
After the final whistle Mutko looked quite pleased with the result. Talking to journalists after the match Mutko said the national team was apparently in good form.
"I believe that the team is in good shape now. I am quite pleased. Many Chilean players boast great individual technique. This is a top level team. Our guys excelled on the pitch and achieved a positive outcome," Mutko said.
The game was the first in the recent history of Russian and Chilean teams. Last time the national teams played in September 1973 in a 1974 World Cup qualifier. The first one ended in a scoreless draw. A return game was scheduled for November 1973, but the USSR refused to play on the National Stadium in Santiago, because just several days before that the sports facility gained notoriety as a prison camp and torture facility following a government coup. Chile were awarded a technical victory.
Russia’s chief coach Stanislav Cherchesov told a news conference he was quite optimistic about the team’s performance. He believes the players have made a rapid headway since the June 5 friendly with Hungary (3:0).
"The way I see it, we have taken another stride forward. I hope that before the Confederation Cup’s kickoff we will make some further improvements," Cherchesov said.
Chile’s coach Juan Antonio Pizzi said the result of the match with Russia looked natural to him.
"In the first half the team controlled the ball. We knew the rival’s defense was very good. In the second half Alexis Sanches appeared on the pitch after substitution and we managed to score shortly after that. The result of the match was natural. We keep training for the Confederations Cup," Pizzi said.
Cherchesov was appointed chief coach last autumn. The national team he leads has since played friendlies with Hungary (3:0), Belgium (3:3), Cote d’Ivoir (0:2), Romania (1:0), Qatar (1:2), Costa Rica (3:4), Ghana (1:0) and Turkey (0:0).
Once again Russian fans arranged a special Gentlefan - Russian Warm Welcome ceremony for their visiting foreign counterparts. In a gesture of hospitality they presented the guests with red T-shirts and caps matching the color of Chile’s standard uniform.
The game with Chile was Russia’s last test of strength ahead of the Confederations Cup. Saturday will be a day off. On Sunday, the team will gather again for more training and on June 15 it will leave for the first group match vs New Zealand in St. Petersburg.
Russia will host the Confederations Cup on June 17 - July 2. In Group A Russia will play New Zealand in St. Petersburg on June 17, Portugal in Moscow on June 21 and Mexico in Kazan on June 24. Germany, Chile, Australia and Cameroon are in Group B. Two pairs of the best teams identified in the group tournaments will then clash in the semifinals. The Confederations Cup’s final match is due in St. Petersburg on July 2.