Confederations Cup Diary: Curtain call for the Confeds, grunge jazz and cake trains

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Confederations Cup final eve brought freebies, free jazz and odd nicknames.

Germany take on Chile on Sunday in a keenly anticipated clash. As Die Mannschaft boss Joachim Low rightly pointed out, these are the two best team to have taken part in this tournament and there are no others who really make much of an argument.

But is this set to be the final final and what will the response be in a fanzone with a difference?

 

THIS COULD BE THE LAST TIME, MAYBE THE LAST TIME. I DON'T KNOW

FIFA president Gianni Infantino headed the Confederations Cup closing news conference at St Petersburg's Krestovsky Stadium on Saturday. There were still pre-match briefings from Arturo Vidal, Juan Antonio Pizzi, Julian Draxler and Joachim Low to come, but let's not split hairs.

Infantino was in buoyant mood initially, praising the tournament for not suffering from problems of hooliganism or racism.

Even if that seemed like a pretty low bar to set, it felt like the Swiss was ready to declare we'd all be doing this again in four years' time, somewhere other than 2022 World Cup host Qatar given the problems associated with a June/July tournament in the Middle Eastern country. Not so.

"First of all, the future of the Confederations Cup is the final that will be played tomorrow," Infantino said. "What happens after that is something that, as always in FIFA since I arrived, we will analyse. When we come to a conclusion we will take a decision. At this stage maybe there is not more to say."

Riffing on his controversial expansion of the World Cup, Infantino added: "Maybe we will expand the Confederations Cup to 48 teams. But maybe not."
 

ONLY DRINKS SPILLED, WITH ANY LUCK

Competition organisers in St Petersburg have picked a striking location for the city's fan park during this competition.

The complex is overlooked by the stunning Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood - one of St Petersburg's most iconic landmarks.

Built on the site where Emperor Alexander II was assassinated and with construction completed during the reign of Nicholas II, the church's stunning and intricate spiral towers are a dazzling feature of the city's picturesque skyline.

All in all, not a bad place to grab food and drink and watch the match.


LOAD UP ON JAZZ, BRING YOUR FRIENDS

The fanzone has all the features we've come to expect, including a sprawling stage area with a big screen.

The band playing on Friday night might have unveiled their calling card or just thought it was time to let it all hang out before a sparse crowd.

Either way, leave it to Confederations Cup 2017 to bring you one of the more unusual takes on Nirvana's seminal grunge anthem 'Smells Like Teen Spirt' that you're ever likely to hear.


HAT'S AMAZING

Following the final news conference and the Chile one after it but before Germany's later on Saturday, the media centre at Krestovsky Stadium staged a meet-and-greet with delegations from the seven World Cup host cities who have not staged Confederations Cup matches.

Representatives from Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, Volgograd, Samara, Saransk, Rostov and Yekaterinburg all lined up to wax lyrical about their wonderful cities and their shiny new stadiums, completed or otherwise.

But gleaning such information was soon a secondary concern to most journalists when it became clear free stuff was on the agenda. Most cities were dishing out the obligatory notepads and pens but a special mention should go to Nizhny Novgorod, who threw in a sleeping mask, a pair of slippers, a drawstring bag and a baseball cap reminding us of our occupation. Marvellous.


SWEET NICKNAME BAFFLES SOROKIN

While running through his list of what Russia 2017 has done so incredibly well, the entirely unbiased chief executive of the organising committee Alexei Sorokin had to admit the native population had left him stumped.

Fans have been delighted by trains providing free transport between competition venues, although these have been given a nickname that leaves Sorokin perplexed.

"The fans call them 'plushki' in Russia, which is a small cake," he explained. "I have no idea why. The etymology is obscure."

Sorokin is not the only one.