5 reasons to be excited for the Confederations Cup

2013 is an odd-year, which sadly means there will be no major football tournament this summer. However, if a domestic campaign and World Cup Qualifiers just aren’t enough for you, then don’t worry; help is at hand.

The Fifa Confederations Cup has been held in the year preceding the World Cup ever since 1997, and acts as a warm up for the host nation. The 8 nations comprise of the champions of each continent, as well as the World Cup winners and host nation. This year’s tournament will be held in Brazil, who will battle for the title against Italy, Nigeria, Uruguay, Spain, Japan, Mexico and the mighty footballing nation of Tahiti.

The Cup is often seen as a gimmick and chance for Fifa to show-off, but if the 2009 edition in South Africa was anything to go by, then this should be an exciting competition. Here are my 4 reasons to be excited…

1. Are Brazil up to it?

Speculation is that Brazil are behind schedule, and the pressure of holding the World Cup and Olympics within two-years may be too much for the country. However, this will be Brazil’s chance to showpiece their capabilities and several new stadiums will be tested. The Confederations Cup will give us a taster of what to expect next year- at least in terms of the flavour and feel of the World Cup.

2. Classic matches

Spain are set to take on Uruguay in the group-stage and Brazil meet Italy in a repeat of the 1994 World Cup final- both should be interesting encounters and give us a clue about who the form teams are heading into the main competition. There is also potential for a re-match between Spain and Italy, and even though the competition is friendlier, there will be no less desire to win.

3. Nigeria, Mexico and Japan

For as long as these competitions have been in existence South America and Europe have come up-trump, but the 2010 World Cup showed that football could become a more competitive global game. Japan and Mexico both reaches the last 16 in South Africa, and were only denied progression by a penalty-shootout and wrong offside decision. Nigeria have also come a long way since their embarrassment in South Africa and all three have young exciting teams that could pull of some shocks.

4. Neymar

So you have seen the YouTube videos of the Brazilian wonder kid, but have you actually seen him in a game? The Confederations Cup will be the first chance a British TV audience may get to see 20-year-old sensation. It will be interesting to see how Neymar adapts to a tournament competition and if he could be a potential star next summer.

5. Goal-line technology

After flirting with the idea for years, the technophobe Sepp Blatter has finally given the go ahead and the technology will be used for the first time in this summer’s tournament. Will it work? We will find out, but it will certainly be interesting to watch.

Will Mata