Russia begin their 2017 Confederations Cup campaign against New Zealand as overwhelming favourites, with the host nation looking to use the tournament as a preparatory campaign ahead of the World Cup next year.
Where to Watch Live
Kick-off is set for 4pm BST. Live coverage of the game will be on ITV and ITV HD.
Manager Stanislav Cherchesov has made a host of changes to form a new-look team following a hugely disappointing Euro 2016 campaign, where they finished with just one point from three group games. A number of new players have been drafted into the squad with 21-year-old Aleksandr Golovin, Lokomotiv Moscow midfielder Aleksey Miranchuk, and Spartak Moscow defender Georgy Dzhikya all finding a place in the team.
Russia, who are ranked 63rd as per the latest Fifa rankings, come into the game against the All Whites following a series of impressive warm-up games against Hungary, which they won 3-0, and Chile, where they were successful in holding their vastly superior Confed Cup participants to a 1-1 draw. Russia, curiously, are the only team in the tournament with a squad full of domestic players, with five players from the Russian Premier League Champions team Spartak Moscow.
Meanwhile, the All Whites, who are ranked 95th in the world, are massive underdogs going into the fixture, given their opponents' history but are more than capable of holding their own. They have been boosted by the presence of 36-year-old manager Anthony Hudson, who is making a name for himself in the circuit by bringing a new style of football to the team involving a host of youngsters.
The visitors have not had the best of warm-up games, losing by a 1-0 margin to both Belarus and Northern Ireland but will now be banking on Chris Wood, a prolific striker who plies his trade in the English Championship. The Leeds United striker has scored 19 goals in 48 appearances for his country and will be looking to make an impact against the mighty Russians.
What Managers Say
Stanislav Cherchesov: "We have been changing a lot and it is a privilege to represent our country at such a high level. We had some successes but it's only natural that we will want to bring forward the tradition of success. I wouldn't say in the past years we have been winning a lot of tournaments, but of course we want to achieve more than we have achieved in the past several years in terms of football. Last week we were watching some games that they [New Zealand] had been playing. We know who can do what and I will not name any players.
Anthony Hudson: "I'd much rather be in our position than Russia's. We should have no fear going into these games. That's how it is. Despite the absence of key defender Winston Reid, an underwhelming buildup and the expected hostile atmosphere, Hudson feels the All Whites have everything to play for. We are looking forward to it, we are not panicking, we are not worried," said Hudson. "If you look at Russia, I actually believe that the prospect for them is even more intimidating. They can't possibly lose to a team like New Zealand."
Betting Odds (betfair)
- Russia win: 1/3
- Draw: 9/2
- New Zealand: 10
Possible XI: Akinfeev, Kudryashov, Vasin, Shishkin, Kombarov, Glushakov, Golovin, Gazinsky, Samedov, Smolov, Poloz.
Possible XI: Marinovic, Colvey, Boxall, Durante, Tzimopoulos, Wynne, McGlinchey, Rojas, Thomas, Smeltz, Wood