FIFA Confederations Cup kicks off in Russian Federation

Russia unveils ‘psychic’ cat ahead of Confederations Cup

Established stars including Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Toni Kroos, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels have all been left at home in favour of granting opportunities to up-and-coming talent ahead of next year's World Cup finals.

After clashes between Russian and English soccer fans marred last year's European Championship, Putin adopted legislation toughening punishments for stadium violence as part of a broader crackdown on hooliganism.

Young manager Anthony Hudson, a 36-year-old Englishman, is already making a name for himself in global football and has brought a new attacking ethos to the team, deploying a number of exciting young players.

"Our group will not be easy".

Stanislav Cherchesov: "We have been changing a lot and it is a privilege to represent our country at such a high level". Australia will try to beat us.

He's also brought into the team more senior players previously only on the fringes of the national set-up.

@ToniRuediger: "The #ConfedCup is a chance to prove yourself".

The 53-year-old has presided over just three wins in his first nine matches in charge but hopes to restore Russian Federation to their former glories having struggled in recent years.

This is first ever global football meeting between these two teams. Kickoff time is at 4 p.m.

The eight teams are divided into two groups of four and the top two teams in each group will advance to the semifinals. Miloš Degenek delighting the German press with his linguistic skills.

"I thought I scored the opening goal but it doesn't really matter who was credited for it", Glushakov said.

"We coped with the task before us", Cherchesov said.

Veteran striker Shane Smeltz - scorer of perhaps the team's most famous goal in a 1-1 World Cup draw with then-champions Italy in 2010 - is also sure the team can belie their underdogs tag. "Iceland had a great campaign a year ago and tournaments are full of that, full of teams stepping up, going to the next level as a nation and we are the same, we want to do that". "We're here to win it".

New Zealand, though, haven't exactly set the world alight in their warm-up matches, producing a solid display in a 1-0 loss to Northern Ireland before going down by the same margin with a disjointed and disappointing effort against Belarus.

In 1997, Australia were runners up to Brazil in the tournament's first official staging.

The 2017 Confederations Cup is due to begin tomorrow amid fears over hooliganism and alleged worker exploitation at various stadiums in Russian Federation.

- Germany are one loss away from recording their 50th competitive defeat in worldwide football. The player did not talk to reporters in Kazan.

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