With the tournament set to kickoff in Russia Khel Now brings you all you need to know…
The FIFA Confederations Cup is almost upon us and this preview to the big bash that is the World Cup next year is expected to be quite a blast in the country of Russia. The best teams from around the world are set to go up against each other in the two-week long affair, and each team will look to get the prestigious honor of winning the Confederations Cup and go into next year’s FIFA World Cup with an advantage.
While some of the bigger teams have opted to rest their key players and give the young guns a try, that will not hamper the quality of football which is expected to be really entertaining to watch. European giants in Portugal and Germany are probably favorites going into the tournament, but the likes of Chile and Mexico will look to claim their stake on this lucrative stage for themselves as well. The next few weeks will be filled with jam-packed excitement and we look at the two groups before the tournament kicks off.
The hosts of the Confederations Cup go into the tournament as underdogs, as Russia are placed in a rather difficult group with European champions Portugal and the attacking threat of Mexico. But much like the country itself, the Russian national team has proved to be unbreakable and are extremely stubborn at home and they will look to use the advantage and reap energy from the thousands of supporters cheering them on.
Stanislav Cherchesov’s side might not be as dangerous as some of the bigger teams in the Confed Cup, but he has a really strong side who are willing to give their all. With their impressive young midfielder in Aleksandr Golovin and clinical strikes in Viktor Vasin and Fyodor Smolov, Russia will look to continue their stubborn, counter-attacking nature of football and destroy teams on the break. They are capable of creating shock upsets in the group and if they do manage to progress into the semi-finals, then the sky is the limit for the hosts who will play for pride and to prove why they are no pushovers heading into the grand stage next year.
New Zealand might be known for their Rugby, but the football team have moved by strides in the past few years and impressively qualified for this tournament as well. New Zealand go into the Confederations Cup as the “minnows” of Group A, but they have proven themselves to be anything but that in the previous months as they arrive at the competition with a rather decent record this year.
Head coach Anthony Hudson has done a great job with the team since taking over at 2014, as he helped them qualify for this tournament and will look to prove a point as well. New Zealand might not have the most “recognizable” players, but they are a tough nut to crack because of their mental and physical strength which is difficult to overcome. With captain Winston Reid leading from the front, New Zealand will continue to be a difficult side to break down defensively and will look to shock everyone with their rather discreet attacking talent in the quick Marco Rojas and Ryan Thomas.
Portugal look to build on Euros triumph
The European champions are headed into the Confederations Cup high on confidence as they should be and their impressive recent form has seen them deemed favorites to win the tournament. Spearheaded by the incredible Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal have a much better squad than what they had last year at the Euros as they have gotten a real boost in attack which was mostly dependent on their captain a year ago.
Fernando Santos has already done an amazing job in transforming Portugal into a championship quality squad, but but he can now change their style of football which was on the unorthodox defensive one at the Euros. With the inflow of brilliant attacking talents like Bernardo Silva and Andre Silva, Portugal will look to find their fast-paced, creative side of attacking football and prove how they could still destroy teams by playing slick, positive football. They have already proven themselves to be a rock-solid team defensively but will look to enjoy themselves and prove an attacking masterclass in this tournament.
The Mexican national team have the reputation of being an exciting, attacking side who love to play free-flowing football and will look to prove their point in the Confederations Cup this year. They’ve been put in a decent group and are favorites to qualify for the semi-finals, as they have some wildcards which could be difficult for some teams to comprehend when Mexico decide to play them.
Juan Carlos Osorio’s side have had an excellent 2017 so far, winning most of the matches in convincing fashion and scoring a lot of goals as well which have taken them to #17 in the FIFA rankings. They have a really exciting squad with some stunning attackers in the likes of Hirving Lozano and Jonathan Dos Santos who will be helped by their all-time top goal-scorer Javier Hernandez. These players can pile the heat on any team with their stunning attacking style of play and they will look to dazzle everyone with their natural game and will gun for going all the way this year..
17th June: Russia vs New Zealand(Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg) – 08:30 PM IST
18th June: Portugal vs Mexico(Kazan Arena, Kazan)- 08:30 PM IST
21st June: Russia vs Portugal(Otkrytiye Arena, Moscow)- 08:30PM IST
22nd June: Mexico vs New Zealand(Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi)- 11:30 PM IST
24th June: Mexico vs Russia(Kazan Arena, Kazan)- 08:30 PM IST
24th June: New Zealand vs Portugal(Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg)- 08:30 PM IST
Can the Indomitable Lions roar on the global stage.
Cameroon shocked many when they won the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year, silencing many critics which wrote them off before the tournament. They showed themselves to remain as a strong side despite the departure of star Samuel Eto’o and booked their tickets to the Confed Cup. They might’ve been placed in a really difficult group, but they have it in them to create upsets and will look to do so this time.
Hugo Broos has done a great job with the side whom he has reformed into a top African football team once again and has unearthed a few brilliant players as well, including Christian Bassagog who won the AFCON Player of the Tournament award. He’ll look to continue his great work with Cameroon in the Confederations Cup where he’ll look to utilize his player’s tenacity and strong will and display their solid defensive nature and also surprise teams on the counter. Even though nobody expects them to progress beyond the group stage, they will look to defy the odds once again and prove why they are the best African football team right now.
Chile are enjoying some of the most successful years in their history, as they currently have a really good squad and are ruling over as the champions of Copa America. They head into the Confederations Cup with much aspirations and have chosen a really strong side to play the tournament. Chile looks to mean business in this tournament and stake their claim as one of the best teams in the world as well as giving their top players some practice before the bash next year.
Juan Antonio Pizzi has transformed Chile into world-beaters ever since taking over a year ago and has made his side play some stunning football this year. He has taken the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal into the tournament and will look to make his team play some exhilarating, free-flowing football which has made Chile an extremely destructive side in the past few years. Chile are favorites to win the Confederations Cup and fully intend to leave Russia with the trophy, as they could be a difficult side to stop if they get their rhythm going in the Group Stages.
Australia might be known for its cricket more than it’s football, but they’ve proven everybody wrong who doubted their football team by performing really well over the past few years. The Socceroos have ruled over Asian football for a long time now and head into the Confed Cup with a lot of confidence, as they’ll look to have a positive tournament despite being part of a really difficult group.
Greek coach Angelos Postecoglou has done a great job with the Aussies ever since taking over and will hope that Tim Cahill and co can prove how good they are in the Confederations Cup. It might be a near impossible task for them to make it to the semi-finals, but they will try their best at having a good showing and hope their captain Tim Cahill can weave magic for the country once again. They’ll look to show their tenacity and resilience by playing their surprisingly impressive attacking brand of football, as well as containing the threat of the big teams. But more importantly will look to get some much-needed practice before the World Cup next year, which is the primary stage for them to impress and show the world how good they are in football.
Germany look to re-assert their doinance
The German National Team may be going into the Confederations Cup as the World Cup Champions, but Joachim Loew surprised everyone by announcing a really strange side for the tournament. Loew did not pick a single senior member of the squad and rested almost every member of the starting team, opting to give the young guns of Germany a chance to shine who will look to prove their point and bring home another major trophy for the Germans.
But whoever follows German Football will know that these rather unknown, young players are extremely talented and capable of going all the way in the Confederations Cup. This “2nd string” side of Germany has a lot of talent in it and will not let anyone miss the big guns, as this young squad already seems to have gelled on really well in recent matches together. Loew’s “weak” team can be destructive on its day as it continues from the main team’s possession-based, sleek attacking football and can be absolutely lethal on the counter-attack like any German side and they’ll look to prove their point by holding the Confederations Cup high and going into the World Cup 2018 as favorites to retain the trophy.
18th June: Cameroon vs Chile(Otkrytiye Arena, Moscow)- 11:30 PM IST
19th June: Australia vs Germany(Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi)- 08:30 PM IST
22nd June: Cameroon vs Australia(Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg)- 08:30 PM IST
22nd June: Germany vs Chile(Kazan Arena, Kazan)- 11:30 PM IST
25th June: Germany vs Cameroon(Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi)- 08:30 PM IST
25th June: Chile vs Australia(Otkrytiye Arena, Moscow)- 08:30 PM IST
28th June: Winners of Group A vs Runners-Up of Group B(Kazan Arena, Kazan)- 11:30 PM IST
29th June: Winners of Group B vs Runners-Up of Group A(Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi)- 11:30 PM IST
2nd July: Losers of SF 1 vs Losers of SF 2(Otkrytiye Arena, Moscow)- 07:30 PM IST
2nd July: Winners of SF 1 vs Winners of SF 2(Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg)- 11:30 PM IST
The tournament will be broadcast Live on the Sony Six network from Saturday. You can also watch the matches on the SonyLiv website and app.