It may not be the most anticipated football tourney around, but the FIFA Confederations Cup still holds its own in the rankings. One major reason for that is that this competition is the “appetizer” that takes place a year before the real deal, the FIFA World Cup.
The “Champions League” of international football features eight teams — seven having been crowned champions at continental level and the eighth, the host nation — put into two groups. The top two countries in the groups advance to the knock-out stages.
This year’s Confederations Cup will take place in Russia from 17 to 24 June, 2017. Group A consists of Russia, New Zealand, Portugal, and Mexico.
As with all things football, comments, analysis and predictions are already underway. A lot of people have had a lot to say. And why not?
Group A has sides like Portugal and Mexico facing oppositions like New Zealand and Russia. Yes, anything still happens in football, but…most are probably wondering, “What caliber of players does the New Zealand squad have?”
The All Whites, as they’re popularly known, have never been a great goal-scoring side especially whenever they play against non-Oceania opposition. Testimony enough are their two Confederations Cup warm-up games against Belarus, and Northern Ireland.
You’ve probably heard the saying that talks about managing whatever life throws at you. Well, this New Zealand squad will have to face (and manage) a Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portugal side, full of players who have won several trophies. Then, there’s the Mexico side that has players like Giovani dos Santos and Chicharito in it, players who have played football at the highest levels.
While there are not so many renowned names in the Russian squad — save for the veteran goalie, Igor Akinfeev, the Russians will enjoy massive home support if they come out to watch their games. Like in Euro 2016, the fans will rally behind their national heroes.
What do the All Whites have going for themselves? It’s hard to tell. Their first game is Russia vs New Zealand while Portugal takes on Mexico. If they’re going to stand any chance in this tournament, they will have to get something out of the game against Russia.
Unfair on New Zealand? Maybe a little, but this is football. And while anything can happen, what do you think the first set of games will play out? Will New Zealand surprise the home fans? Will Ronaldo and Mexico share the spoils?
Let us know what you think by leaving us your comments.Tags: FIFA Confederations Cup, Portugal vs Mexico, Russia 2017, Russia vs New Zealand