Confederations Cup, any bother?

Confederations Cup, any bother?

By Papi Briano ‘Spanish Football Matador’

 Just when you thought you had no football to look forward to until August, the football gods remind us that all is not lost. There are no other options on the menu, more like a take it or leave it kind of deal. On offer from June 17 to July 2 is the Confederations Cup being held in Russia. There are two groups of four with the top two teams then facing off in semi-finals. The winner of each semi-final progresses to the final, while the two losing teams play in the third place play-off. Let’s now analyse each team’s prospects of making it out of their groups and possibly even winning it all.

Group A

Russia: They are here by virtue of being the hosts and if being the largest country in the world could help in inspiring success then this team needs it by an almighty dose. They have had problems at coaching level since Fabio Capello left in 2015 and finally settled on a homegrown tactician in Stanislav Cherchesov.

Portugal: The Euro 2016 winners will be making their first appearance in the tournament. They have a more than a decent side capable of causing problems for anyone powered by none other than CR7 himself. In Fernando Santos they have a proven hard-nosed coach who thrives on the philosophy of strength and teamwork.

New Zealand: They will be making their fourth appearance in the tournament after winning the Oceania Nations Cup. This side’s talisman and Captain happens to be West Ham defender, Winston Reid, who has been sidelined with injury.

Mexico: This one time champion will be gracing their sixth edition courtesy of being CONCACAF winners in Central America. The key men will be Andres Guardado, Chicharito and of course man mountain, Rafael Marquez. Yes, he is still playing at 38 years.

Group B

Cameroon: They arrive as African Champions having defied the odds against them owing to the horror shows they had displayed in the recent past. Their best player is still, Christian Bassogog, the Nation’s Cup player of the tournament. His creative talent notwithstanding may not be enough to navigate past a group featuring Germany and Chile too. No chance of making the semis.

Australia: The Socceroos will be making their fourth appearance at the tournament, having made it courtesy of being Asian Champions. They transferred to the Asian Football Confederation in 2005 in case you were wondering. Tim Cahill is still playing at 37 years and remains the team’s talisman owing to his invaluable top flight experience.

Chile: Winner of the last two Copa America tournaments including one under new coach Juan Pizzi, beating much fancied Argentina on both occasions. They are an ultra-competitive side with hard metal attacking style of play that would remind you of Dortmund when Klopp was their manager.

Germany: The defending World Cup champions. This will be their third attempt at success in this tournament. Only three World Cup winners have been included in Germany’s Confederations Cup squad – Matthias Ginter, Julian Draxler and Shkodran Mustafi. That tells you that it would be a young squad featuring in Russia.

 

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