2017 FIFA Confed. Cup: "Come to Russia! You will feel the best football tournament ever" - FIFA president

St. Petersburg, Russia (PANA) - First speaking in Russia before switching to English, FIFA President Gianni Infantino, on Saturday welcomed the World to the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.

He said: "Dorogie dryzya (dear friends), dobro pozhalovat (welcome)," and when he switched to English, he said: "Welcome to the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia. I would like to thank four Russian cities for their fantastic work (St. Petersburg, Moscow, Sochi and Kazan). Spasibo Rossiya (Thank you Russia).

"Come to Russia! You will feel the best football tournament ever," he added, shortly before hosts Russia began their Group A campaign with a resounding 2-0 win over New Zealand.

The official opening ceremony was held in front of almost fully packed spectators’ stands of the newly-built football stadium in the country’s second largest city of Saint Petersburg.

The 20-minute ceremony involved some 1,500 participants, who displayed various scenes of traditions and culture of four cities in Russia, selected to host the global football tournament this year.

An the end of the ceremony, the mascot of the 2017 Confederations Cup, charming wolf Zabivaka, descended on an artificial clod from the top of the stadium and made a first symbolic kick of the ball across the pitch to signal the opening of the tournament.

The new football arena in St. Petersburg is hosting the opening and final matches of the Confederations Cup, also dubbed as the Tournament of Champions.

The over 68,000-seat capacity stadium, designed to host both the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup matches, will host the opening and final matches of the Confederations Cup.

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.

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.
-0- PANA VAO/MA 17June2017

17 june 2017 18:20:20

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