2017 Confederations Cup opens; two FC Barcelona players taking part
Goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen is playing for Germany while midfielder André Gomes has been summoned to play for Portugal in the precursor to the 2018 World Cup in Russia
All times are local, MSK (UTC+3).
When the 2017 Confederations Cup commences on Saturday with an opening match between Group A sides Russia — this year’s hosts — and New Zealand in Saint Petersburg, there will be two FC Barcelona players eagerly awaiting their first matches, which are slated for the following two days.
Barça midfielder André Gomes and Portugal — the reigning European champions — begin play on Sunday at 6.00pm, when they face Mexico in the other Group A fixture, to be held in Kazan.
And on Monday at 6.00pm, Barça goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen and Germany — the reigning World Cup champions — open play in a Group B match versus Australia. Chile and Cameroon are the other two teams in Group B.
The Confederations Cup, which was founded in 1992, is held every four years as a preview of the following year’s World Cup, and features the current champions of the world’s six football confederations (UEFA, CONMEBOL, CONCACAF, CAF, AFC, OFC), plus the reigning FIFA World Cup champions and the national team of the host nation, which, this year, is Russia. Brazil, which are not competing in this year’s Cup, have the most titles in the tournament’s history, with three.
Both Ter Stegen and Gomes could start for their respective national teams, which are the heavy favorites at this year’s tournament. Manuel Neuer, who had been Germany’s first goalkeeper, will be out, making it very likely that Ter Stegen will get the nod for Die Mannschaft, as Germany’s national team is known. Gomes, who has been a regular for Portugal in their most recent World Cup qualifiers, is likely to start as well.
The semifinals are set for June 28 and 29, and the final is set for Sunday, July 2 at 9.00pm in Saint Petersburg.