The 10th edition of the FIFA Confederation Cup 2017 kicks off in Russia this Saturday, the 17th of June. The tournament which was first held in 1992 in Saudi Arabia, then known as the King Fahd Cup is usually designed to serve as a dress rehearsal for the World Cup holding the following year. The aim of the tournament is to help the host nation test facilities and run logistics whilst creating awareness and giving the fans a taste of what to expect when the big tourney begins and 32 nations come to town the following year.
The tournament usually features 8 teams with the 7 top teams across the continents alongside the host nation and this year’s edition sees teams like Russia (Hosts of the 2018 FIFA World Cup), Germany (2014 World Cup Winners), Australia (Asian Cup Winners), Chile (Copa America Winners), Mexico from CONCACAF, New Zealand (Oceania Nations Cup Winners), Portugal as Euro 2016 Winners and Cameroon who are African Champions all vying to be crowned champions of the confederation. The tournament also gives the host nation who didn’t go through any form of qualifiers an opportunity to experience some high level form of competition just before the World cup begins and it is pertinent to know that no team has ever won the Confederation cup and gone ahead to emerge as World Champions the following year.
The tournament which will feature 8 teams in two groups will kick off with the host nation Russia taking on Oceania Champions New Zealand and the games will be hosted across four venues which are a selected few from the twelve venues scheduled to be used during the World Cup. Russia, Chile and Portugal are debutants at this year’s edition.
GROUP A: Russia, New Zealand, Portugal and Mexico
GROUP B: Cameroon, Chile, Australia and Germany.
Brazil are defending Champions of the tournament and have won the competition a record four times including the last three editions but would be missing at this year’s tournament and European Champions Portugal with World footballer of the year, Cristiano Ronaldo leading their lines are favorites alongside Chile and Germany who have suffered some form of slump after their World Cup win to win this year’s edition.
The World Football Governing body, FIFA has introduced new measures with the most pivotal being the three step procedure given to match officials in handling any form of racism chants during matches empowering them with the ability to call for a game to be stopped and abandoned after warnings have been issued, Video Assistant Referees (VAR) will also feature during this tournament. It promises to be an exciting two weeks of football action as the best of the best go up against each other in National colours.