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FIFA targets gay slurs by Chile, Mexico fans in Russia

As for football? The subject elicits a universal "thumbs down" gesture that says everything about Russia's current relationship with its team just 12 months before World Cup kicks off. "Our team has played on much worse in our journey to get here, hard pitches, extreme heat and [we are] good at adapting to that".

"The make-up of our team has often been scenarios like that where we haven't always been able to get our best players together".

After a slow start to their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign, Chile have climbed to the fourth spot in the South American zone standings, within the automatic qualification places.

With the Confederations Cup set to kick off tomorrow with hosts Russian Federation facing New Zealand in the newly completed Kreztovsky stadium in St Petersburg, CEO of the Local Organising Committee Alexei Sorokin said they could not find corroboration of the "alarming" allegations.

It leaves him exposed with a squad shorn of experience and class but if they can get out of a group that also includes Mexico and European champions Portugal it will show progress ahead of the main event next summer when the world's best come to Russian Federation.

World champions Germany head to the Confederations Cup with coach Joachim Loew looking to nurture his next generation of stars after leaving his top names at home.

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.

Ronaldo past year extended his contract with the Spanish team until June 21, saying he wanted to end his career at the club.

"Ronaldo is motivated", young Portugal forward Andre Silva said. "He is taking this competition very seriously and is fully focused on training and on the match against Mexico".

However, they are also tactically astute and at number four in the current Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings are a formidable opponent - as Australia saw in their opening World Cup clash in Brazil.

Russia's win eases the pressure on its second game, against Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal in Moscow on Wednesday.

That would leave him level with his great rival Lionel Messi with five FIFA player of the year accolades (called the FIFA Ballon d'Or from from 2010 to 2015).

The Socceroos, who are back at $34 AUD to win the tournament, according to AustralianGambling.com.au, come off a 4-0 loss to Brazil in a recent friendly in Melbourne.

Mexico are the only team to have previously won the tournament, albeit in 1999. They're going to be a team to keep a close eye on in the Confederations Cup, because it looks possible that New Zealand will be in the World Cup next summer, as well.

Portugal doesn't have any player on its squad playing for Mexican clubs.



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