The excitement of the Confederations Cup (Video)

The Confederations Cup has kicked off in Brazil and we are blessed with some football to fill the barren summer months where there is little to report on except transfer rumours and managerial appointments. The tournament is a strange mix of teams, from the established and historically successful powerhouses to a tiny island nation making their debut. European and World champions Spain are favourites to add yet another trophy to their growing collection, whilst the hosts will be keen to finally play some competitive football after such a long time contesting friendlies.


Since 2005 FIFA have taken the opportunity to assess a country’s readiness to host a World Cup by giving them a chance to rehearse by staging this competition a year before the real thing. The dress rehearsal for the 2014 World Cup should highlight any problems and allow them to be rectified before the opening match of the greatest show on earth. Apart from the testing of stadia, transport and general infrastructure required to allow the experience to go as smoothly as possible, what can we expect to see over the next few weeks in terms of football?

Eight teams are divided into two groups and only the top two from each qualify for the semi-finals. Brazil and Italy would be the most likely to progress from Group A, whilst Spain and Uruguay are the bookies tip to qualify from Group B. My personal opinion is that we will see Brazil versus Uruguay in a South American semi and Spain versus Italy in a European battle, ending with a Brazil v Spain final.

Whilst Mexico and Nigeria could be the dark horses in each group, the biggest shock would definitely be if Tahiti could progress. The current Oceania champions are completely unknown to the majority of players, coaches and fans at the tournament and it would be fantastic if they can give a good account of themselves in what will be a tough fortnight for them.

It won’t have the importance of the World Cup but it is certainly a tournament that the teams will want to win and a chance to lay down a marker for their rivals. There is bound to be good support, drama on the pitch and maybe even a few surprises along the way. Thank goodness for the Confederations Cup to save the summer!

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