As World Cup 2018 hosts, Russia have the honour of hosting this year's Confederations Cup and they will launch their campaign on Saturday when they go head-to-head with New Zealand at the Krestovsky Stadium, however can they hit the ground running this weekend?
Russia automatically qualify for next summer's World Cup and they haven't been in competitive action since their disappointing showing at the 2016 European Championships in which they were dumped out at the group stages, the side losing to Slovakia and Wales with just a solitary point from their three matches. As such, their friendly matches have been given added importance over the past few months although the Russians haven't fared too well on that front either.
Three defeats in four matches isn't a statistic to be proud of and new manager Stanislav Cherchesov has certainly been given a taste of the massive task ahead of him. Nevertheless Russia have held Belgium and Chile to draws with a win against Hungary over the past few months and we feel that they will get the better of New Zealand this weekend.
The All-Whites have lost just three of their last 18 outings but these have been against the likes of Oman, New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea - hardly nations of the highest footballing calibre. When faced with stronger opposition they have struggled with the likes of Mexico, Belarus and Northern Ireland brushing them aside in recent meetings. Russia may be ravaged with injuries but we fee that the competition hosts will dominate this weekend and win by at least a couple of goals.