All Whites to play Russia, Portugal and Mexico at 2017 Fifa Confederations Cup

Victoria Lopyreva, model and envoy for 2018 World Cup, shows off the official ball during the draw for the soccer Confederations Cup 2017, in Kazan, Russia. Photo / AP.
Victoria Lopyreva, model and envoy for 2018 World Cup, shows off the official ball during the draw for the soccer Confederations Cup 2017, in Kazan, Russia. Photo / AP.

The All Whites will play host nation Russia in the opening match of next year's Fifa Confederations Cup.

New Zealand were drawn alongside the 2018 World Cup hosts, European champions Portugal and Concacaf champions Mexico in Pool A for the eight-team tournament in June-July, 2017.

World champions Germany were grouped with Asian champions Australia, Confederations Cup first-timers and South American champions Chile and the yet-to-be-determined African champions, who will be determined in February.

The All Whites will face Russia at St Petersburg Stadium at 6pm on June 17 (3am June 18 NZT), before facing Mexico at 9pm on June 21 (6am June 22 NZT) and Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal at 6pm on June 24 (3am June 25 NZT).

The tournament runs from June 17 to July 2 next year in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan and Sochi, and is a warmup event for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

It's a key test for some of the trickier areas of Russia's preparations, including the costly and much delayed 69,000-seat St. Petersburg stadium.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told FIFA president Gianni Infantino on Friday that the stadium would be finished by the end of next month.

The Confederations Cup's future after 2017 is uncertain, with Infantino saying earlier Saturday that the format could be changed and "we are putting everything on the table."

That's because the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be held in November and December, meaning the Confederations Cup would cause severe disruption to the club calendar if held in its traditional slot a year before the bigger tournament.

Infantino said FIFA officials are discussing questions such as "Shall we play it in June? Shall we play it in November? Shall we think about the format?"

Last year, then-FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said the 2021 tournament would be moved from Qatar and played elsewhere in Asia.The Confederations Cup features many of the best teams in world football - with FIFA's six continental champions, plus the World Cup holder and the following year's World Cup host.

But it has struggled to build a distinct identity beyond being simply a test event for a larger tournament.

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