FIFA can be accused of many a bad thing, but this summer it’s the governing body of football we have to thank for helping us through the off-season! The Confederations Cup is being held in Russia later in June as the traditional ‘dress rehearsal’ for the World Cup next year.
The tournament pitches together the winners of each of the six regional championships – UEFA, CONMEBOL, CONCACAF, CAF, AFC, OFC – as well as the World Cup holders and next year’s host nation. The competition will be held between 17th June and 2nd July, with Portugal, Chile, Germany, Russia, Cameroon, New Zealand and Australia all taking part.
the competition is set up in two groups of four teams, playing a round-robin format. The winners and runners-up in each group will progress straight to the semi-finals, with the final set to be played on the 2nd of July. The groups are as follows:
Germany have been installed as pre-tournament favourites by most bookies, but there are reasons to oppose the World Cup holders at average odds of +230 . Joachim Low has elected to rest a host of first-team players, taking a hugely inexperienced squad to the tournament. This is of course, a luxury that he can afford. Stars such as Ozil, Neuer, Muller and Boateng will be given the summer off with an eye on next year’s tournament, while Germany’s younger players will be given a chance to shine. the likes of Sane, Draxler, Brandt and Kimmich should get minutes on the pitch and could make an impact on the competition. However, the lack of experience could count against them – especially against some first class international sides.
Portugal are the tip at +300 with BetVictor, after a strong squad was announced including Cristiano Ronaldo. The Real Madrid star has had some year. He led his country to triumph at Euro 2016, before leading his club to victory in the Champions League for a second successive year. Nobody would have been to surprised if he sat this tournament out, but his participation is a signal of Portuguese intent. The squad also includes the likes of Pepe and Bernardo Silva, and one expects Portugal to have a good crack at this trophy.
Ronaldo and co. will line up in group A alongside Russia, New Zealand and Mexico. It’s arguably the easier of the two groups, as Germany, Chile, Australia and Cameroon looks much more competitive. Russia are hosts, but their recent form hasn’t been spectacular with three wins in the last ten games. New Zealand are the lowest-ranked side in the competition after winning the weaker OFC title. Mexico have also selected a strong squad and will provide the biggest danger, but it would be a shock if Portugal don’t take 1st or 2nd in the group and progress to the semi-finals.
Chile have included Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez and Bayern’s Arturo Vidal, and they are clearly taking the competition seriously as the look to follow up their Copa America triumph. It will be interesting to see how Germany’s youngster’s fayre against one of the world’s top sides when they meet on the 22nd of June. Cameroon have been on a long run of good results culminating in the Africa Cup of Nations. They are not to be underestimated either, while Australia are good enough to cause problems for all three. Germany and Chile will be expected to progress to the semi-finals, but they certainly won’t have things all their own way.
Portugal should make their way through to the semi-finals, and with Ronaldo leading the charge they can pick up another trophy.
Portugal to win the Confederations Cup
17th June – 2nd July, 2017