MOSCOW, June 21. /TASS, Yevgeny Ionov/. With three hours to go before the start of the Russia-Portugal football match of the 2017 Confederations Cup, FIFA expects full-house attendance tonight at Spartak Stadium in Moscow, the press service of the world’s governing football body announced to TASS on Wednesday.
"Football fans had been enormously interested in this match and most of the tickets were sold out before the tournament itself kicked off (last week,)" the FIFA said in its statement. "We are expecting a full-house tonight."
The match between hosts Russia and the 2016 UEFA Euro Cup Champions, Portugal, at the over 42,700-seat capacity Spartak Stadium, which is a newly-built facility in the Russian capital, is scheduled to start at 6:00 p.m. Moscow time (15:00 GMT).
Due to the extreme attention towards the upcoming match expressed on behalf of both Russian and Portuguese football fans, organizers decided to open all of the stadiums entrances three hours prior to the start of the match, according to FIFA.
The Russian and Portuguese teams met previously on 10 occasions, including the matches of the ex-Soviet Union’s team since their first encounter in 1966 in London, where Portugal won 1-0.
The head-to-head figures speak in favor of the reigning European champions, who currently pack six wins, one draw and three defeats against their Russian opponents.
However, Portugal, also knowns as The Lusitanians, never saw a victory playing away on the Russian territory and during the total of their four visits they have a record of three defeats and one draw.
The match on Wednesday night in Moscow will be the second group stage game for each of the squads at this year’s FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.
Hosts Russia opened the tournament on June 17 in St. Petersburg defeating New Zealand 2-0 and currently tops its Group A with three points, while Portugal, led by world’s top footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, is third with one point following 2-2 draw against Mexico on June 18 in Russia’s Kazan.
The rest of Group A teams Mexico and New Zealand have one and zero points respectively and they are set to face each other at 9:00 p.m. Moscow time (18:00 GMT) at Fisht stadium in Russia’s southern resort city of Sochi.
The Russian national squad will be playing its next and final group stage match against Mexico on Saturday, June 24, in Kazan, while its tonight’s opponent Portugal would clash later that day with New Zealand in Russia’s second-largest city of St. Petersburg.
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.