Vladimir Putin attended the opening match of 2017 Confederations Cup. The national teams of Russia and New Zealand played at the St Petersburg Stadium, with Russia winning 2:0.
The game against New Zealand was a debut for the Russian national team at the “champions’ tournament.” The referee at the match was Wilmar Roldán of Columbia.
The FIFA Confederations Cup is a competition held by FIFA in the World Cup host country one year prior to the World Cup. Winners of each of the six continental championship (Europe, South America, North and Central America, Africa, Asia and Oceania) take part in the Confederations Cup alongside the current world champion and the host country’s team, totaling eight teams.
The 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup is held from June 17 to July 2 in four Russian cities: St Petersburg, Moscow, Sochi and Kazan. Footballers from Russia, Germany, Portugal, Chile, Mexico, Cameroon, Australia and New Zealand will walk out onto the pitch to play a total of 16 games.
Speech at the Confederations Cup opening ceremony
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen, friends,
It is a pleasure to welcome athletes, fans and spectators from around the world, all our guests and everyone who loves football.
We are just a few minutes away from the beginning of a grand football celebration, the Confederations Cup. For the first time in history our country, Russia will welcome the strongest teams of the continents.
Allow me to first of all express my appreciation to FIFA and to you, Mr Infantino, for your commitment to the ideals of sport, for your trust in our country, for cooperation and assistance in preparing this milestone event, a remarkable tournament which will be the final rehearsal for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
We are united in believing that football should serve the purpose of social development, should unite nations and continents, reaffirm the values of fair play, enhance determination and faith, inspire, and offer a dream to the younger generation.
Hundreds of thousands of people in Russia are in love with football. Our responsibility and commitment is to hold the Confederations Cup at the highest possible level. I am confident that our visitors will get to know Russia, a hospitable nation that is friendly, open to the world, will get to know St Petersburg and Moscow, Kazan and Sochi, wonderful cities with their own history and vibrant lives. It is here, on modern football pitches, that uncompromising, fair and honest play will unfold until the very last moments of the match.
I am certain that millions of people on the planet will see a beautiful captivating show, the art of football masters, a real triumph of sport. I wish success to both the teams and fans.
Dear friends, let us watch football! Welcome to Russia!