ST. PETERSBURG, June 16. /TASS, Oleg Koshelev, Yevgeny Ionov/. FIFA President Gianni Infantino is coming to Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg on Saturday for the opening of the 2017 Confederations Cup, FIFA press service told TASS on Friday.
The FIFA president will attend the official opening ceremony, which is scheduled to begin at 16:00 local time (1:00 p.m. GMT) at the recently built St. Petersburg Arena and will stay to watch the tournament’s first match, which will be played between hosts Russia and team New Zealand at 18:00 local time.
The national football team of New Zealand arrived at the arena on Friday noon to test the pitch of the stadium and then shared their opinion about the facility at a news conference expressing their satisfaction with the playing turf.
The over 68,000-seat capacity stadium designed to host the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup matches was laid down in the western portion of Krestovsky Island in St. Petersburg in 2007. The construction project was amended three times: in 2008, 2010 and 2013.
The new football arena in St. Petersburg will be hosting the opening and final matches of the Confederations Cup, also dubbed as the Tournament of Champions.
The FIFA Confederations Cup is viewed by experts as a rehearsal for the organizers, 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.