With major club football taking a backseat, international football has taken over, in the form of friendlies, the U-20 World Cup, and the tournament of champions, keeping us busy while we await the return of our favourite clubs to action.
For the past 3 days, Russia, and the world at large, has been entertained by footballers from eight countries: Russia, Portugal, Mexico, New Zealand, Germany, Chile, Cameroon, and Australia.
The first round of the Confederations Cup has now come and gone. The world has seen what each team is capable of. Each team coach now has a better knowledge of what his opposition plays like.
Going into Round 2, we take a look at events that happened in Round 1 and how they’ll shape, to a large extent, the way things may play out in Russia over the next couple of days.
Video Assistant Referees (VARs)
Football is no longer the same we used to know. As discussed yesterday, the rules are changing, so fast that it is very hard for those involved to keep up.
And this was evident with VARs thrown into the mix at the FIFA Confederations Cup. And boy did they come in handy. Almost every game had one decision or the other being looked into by the VARs. But…
It was evident that it was a strange experience for the players, the fans too. Forlorn faces appeared whenever the centre referee decided to consult his assistants. The couple of seconds it took to review situations that needed the help of technology seemed to go on for forever.
While it helped, it took its toll on the game. Instead of goals making headlines, VARs stole the show. Maybe that goes to show how desperately much football needs technology. It may also confirm Steven Pienaar was right when he said, ‘I understand goal technology but this (VARs Review)? This is more like cricket to me.”
Do you agree?
With international football, you never know what you’ll get. Drab draws, sky-high scorelines, boring 90 mins or end-to-end stuff. You never know.
The Confed Cup has, in a way, not disappointed. Every game has averaged at least two goals. There’s been a last-minute equalizer and the Australians put on a beautiful display against the young Germans.
Not bad eh?
Except for the FIFA World Cup, and maybe some exciting rivalries, international football is not popularly known for drawing attention; or should we say, massive attention.
The reverse has been the case in Russia. While stadiums haven’t exactly seen a sea of heads with no empty seats in sight, the turnout of fans have been encouraging enough. They have come out in their numbers to encourage their fellow countrymen and the numbers have looked good so far.
There have been no surprises so far though – you’re forgiven if you thought Portugal would run Mexico over. Germany, Chile, Russia, all won their first games. Now, the stage is set for the second round.
Russia take on Portugal in a battle that may go a long way in deciding who will qualify from the group. In the other Group A clash, Mexico go against New Zealand, as both teams search for their first three points of the tournament.
The race to qualify for the semi-finals is on. Which teams will make it out alive?
Quick one before you go and place your bets. Just fill in the gap with your most appropriate answer:
So far, so good, Russia 2017 has been ____________________? Let us know what you think about the tournament so far by leaving us a comment.Tags: FIFA Confederations Cup, Russia 2017