2017 Confederations Cup

    2017 Confederations Cup
    fifg / Shutterstock.com

    The 2017 Confederations Cup will be the tenth instalment of the international football tournament.  Staged one year prior to the World Cup, the event gives the host nation an opportunity to test their organisational skills ahead of the world’s greatest sporting event.

    This year the tournament will be held in Russia between the 17th June and 2nd July.  Four different venues are being used and the final will be held at the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg, a stadium which opened early this year.

    Eight teams will contest the 2017 Confederations Cup, with Russia qualifying automatically as hosts.  The other seven teams are:

    2014 World Cup winners Germany

    UEFA Euro 2016 winners Portugal

    2015 AFC Asian Cup winners Australia

    2015 Copa America winners Chile

    2015 CONCACAF winners Mexico

    2016 OFC Nations Cup winners New Zealand

    2017 African Cup of Nations winners Cameroon

    The eight teams have been drawn into two groups of four, with the top two teams going through to the semi-finals.  There will be extra-time and penalties if required in the semi-finals and final.

    Russia have been drawn in Group A along with Portugal, Mexico and New Zealand.

    The Russian team have been struggling since a disappointing display at Euro 2016 and there have been defeats to Costa Rica and Qatar.  Recent friendly results have improved slightly, with a win over Hungary and draws with Chile and Belgium.

    Unfortunately, coach Stanislav Cherchesov must make do without striker Artem Dzyuba due to injury and this does not help their chances of getting out of this group.  Russia will do well to make the semi-finals but third place in the group is more likely.

    Portugal are the favourites to win Group A and rightly so.  Having won Euro 2016 Portugal have reacted well to losing their first match in World Cup qualifying to Switzerland and should return to Russia next year for the World Cup.

    Fernando Santos has selected a very strong squad for the Confederations Cup with Cristiano Ronaldo, Andre Silva, Bernardo Silva, Andre Gomes and Nani all included.  This signals Portugal are in Russia to win it and they are favourites to qualify from the group as winners.

    Mexico will be hoping to make the semi-finals and have what it takes to finish second in Group A.  The Mexican team are doing well in World Cup qualifying and have yet to lose a match.  However, Portugal will be a tougher test than anything they have faced during the World Cup qualifiers and a recent defeat to Croatia shows they may struggle to finish above the Portuguese in the group.

    2017 Confederations Cup Group B contains the tournament favourites, Germany plus Cameroon, Chile and Australia.

    Joachim Low’s team are well placed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup but the German manager has opted to select an experimental squad for this tournament.  Only Matthias Ginter, Julian Draxler and Shkodran Mustafi remain from the 2014 World Cup winning squad and several young players have been included.

    Despite the inexperienced look to Germany’s squad, many of the players have been in excellent form for their club teams and will start the tournament full of confidence.  With Cameroon and Australia two of the weaker teams in the tournament, Germany should have no problem progressing to the semi-finals.

    The one team which may challenge them for top spot in Group B is Chile.  With the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal in their squad, Chile have some top talent and enough to trouble Germany.  However, qualification for the World Cup is proving tough in South America and Chile still have a lot of work to do if they are to return to Russia next summer.

    Fortunately, being in a group which contains Cameroon and Australia, Chile should have no problem in finishing in the top two places and making the semi-finals of the 2017 Confederations Cup.  Cameroon caused an upset by winning the Africa Cup on Nations but looked poor in a recent friendly defeat to Colombia.

    Australia face a fight to qualify for the World Cup and both Germany and Chile are stronger than any team they have faced in the qualifying process.

    With Germany, Portugal, Mexico and Chile the favourites to reach the semi-finals, much could rest on which teams finish first and second in their group.  If both Germany and Portugal finish top, as predicted, they will avoid each other in the semi-final and could meet in an all European final.

    As Portugal have their strongest team available, they must go into every match in this tournament as the favourites, even the final against Germany.  Do not be surprised to see Cristiano Ronaldo add yet another piece of silverware to his collection this summer.

    Predictions for Confederations Cup

    Home team - Away team Tip
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    02/07/2017 12:00
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    02/07/2017 18:00
    flag_190 FCC
    29/06/2017 18:00
    flag_190 FCC
    28/06/2017 18:00

    Confederations Cup - predictions, tips, statistics