2017 FIFA Confed. Cup: New Zealand 2nd team to arrive in Russia

Saint Petersburg, Russia (PANA) - The New Zealand national football team, otherwise called the 'All Whites' landed at Saint Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport on Friday, eight days ahead of their opening match against Russia on 17 June at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.

New Zealand, the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Nations Cup Champions coached by Anthony Hudson, are the second team to arrive in Russia for the ‘Tournament of Champions’ following Chile’s arrival in Moscow on 6 June.

The All Whites have set the goal of becoming the first New Zealand team to win a game at the event and also progress to the semi-finals. This is their fourth appearance in the FIFA Confederations Cup.

The FIFA media outlet quoted the team's holding-midfielder, Bill Tuiloma, a standout performer in their most recent international friendly against Northern Ireland, as saying that it was exciting to finally be in Russia and complete their preparation.

“It was an early flight but it was good to get here nice and early and get settled in,” said the 22-year-old. “It’s kicked in now and it feels much more real. All of the boys are excited to get into training and build towards that first game against Russia.”

All Whites' goalkeeper, Glen Moss, one of three players in the squad alongside Shane Smeltz and skipper Chris Wood to attend a second FIFA Confederations Cup, knows what to expect. He said the team has a huge two weeks to look forward to.

The All Whites got into training on Saturday morning to prepare for their last international friendly, against Belarus in Minsk on Monday, before the tournament

Belarus has won only one of their last five internationals, but the All Whites are expecting a physical test with expertise at set-piece, much like they will face against Russia in St Petersburg. Moss said it was vital for the team to have a strong performance against the World No 83 to be ready for Russia.

“It’s another big game for us and the perfect game for us to lead into the Confederations Cup,” he said.

The team has completed a good week of fitness and training in Dublin, including a 5-2 win in a training game over Ireland Division Two side, Cabinteely FC.

The national teams of Russia, Germany, Australia, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, Portugal and Cameroon will play in the 17 June to 2 July 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.

Russia qualified automatically as hosts, Germany as 2014 World Cup winners, Australia as 2015 AFC Asian Cup winners, Chile as 2015 Copa América winners, Mexico as 2015 CONCACAF Cup winners, New Zealand as 2016 OFC Nations Cup winners, Portugal as UEFA Euro 2016 winners, and Cameroon as 2017 Africa Cup of Nations winners.

Below is the list of previous winners of the FIFA Confederations Cup.

Brazil - Final appearance 5; won 4 times (1997, 2005, 2009, 2013); runners up 1 (1999).
France - Appeared twice; won twice (2001, 2003).
Argentina - Appeared 3 times; won once (1992); runners up twice (1995, 2005).
Denmark - Appeared once; won once (1995).
Mexico - Appeared once; won once (1999).
Saudi Arabia - Appeared once; runners up once (1992).
Australia - Appeared once; runners up in 1997.
Japan - Appeared once; runners up in 2001.
Cameroon - Appeared once; runners up in 2003.
United States - Appeared once; runners up in 2009.
Spain - Appeared once; runners up in 2013.
-0- PANA VAO/AR 10June2017

10 june 2017 09:55:58

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