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ST PETERSBURG, June 17. /TASS/. Competition at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, underway in Russia, will be uncompromising and fair and the tournament will become the triumph of sport, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday at the opening ceremony.
"We are united in the belief that football is destined to serve the goals of public development, to unite nations and continents, to promote the values of fair and beautiful play, to strengthen will and faith, to inspire, to give a dream to the younger generation," Putin said. "Right here, at modern football arenas, an uncompromising, fair and just competition will be going on till the last minutes of matches."
Putin said that for the first time ever, Russia welcomes the world’s best football national teams. He said words of gratitude to FIFA "for its adherence to sport ideals, for confidence in our country, for cooperation and assistance in preparations for this milestone event which will become a full rehearsal for the 2018 World Cup."
Hundreds of thousands of Russians are ‘in love with football’ and the country is determined to hold the world-class Confederations Cup, he said.
"I am convinced that our guests will get familiarized with a hospitable, cordial, open to the world Russia, and St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan and Sochi - the amazing cities with their history and dynamic lives," he said.
Millions of people around the world would see a fantastic, spectacular show, the proficiency of ball masters and ‘the real triumph of sport’, he added.
The Russian president wished good luck to both the teams and fans.
"Dear friends, let us watch football! Welcome to Russia!" he said in conclusion.
The FIFA Confederations Cup has been held since 2005 and 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 is 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.