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Confederations Cup Overview

Soweto 572325a Confederations Cup OverviewThe official dry run for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa is upon us, as the 2009 Confederations Cup is under way.

ESPN and its family of networks will be showing every game of this competition of champions from every region of the planet.

Here’s what you need to know:

Schedule

Opening round
June 14 – South Africa vs. Iraq, 9:55, E2/360/EM
June 14 – New Zealand vs. Spain, 2:25, E2/360
June 15 – Brazil vs. Egypt, 9:55, E2/360/EM
June 15 – USA vs. Italy, 2:25, E1/360/EM
June 17 – Spain vs. Iraq, 9:55, E2/360/EM
June 17 – South Africa vs. New Zealand, 2:25, E2/360/EM
June 18 – USA vs. Brazil, 9:55, E2/360
June 18 – Egypt vs. Italy, 2:25, E2/360/EM
June 20 – Spain vs. South Africa, 2:25, E2/360/EM
June 20 – Iraq vs. New Zealand, 2:25, 360
June 21 – Egypt vs. USA, 2:25, E2/360/EM
June 21 – Italy vs. Brazil, 2:25, E1/360

Semifinals
June 24 – Group A winner vs. Group B runner-up, 2:25, E1/360/EM
June 25 – Group A runner-up vs. Group B winner, 2:25, E1/360/EM

Third-place match
June 28 – Semifinal Losers, 8:55, E2/360/EM

Final
June 28 – Semifinal Winners, 2:25, E2/360/EM

Guide: E1 – ESPN, E2 – ESPN2, 360 – ESPN360.com, Mo-TV – ESPN Mobile TV

Except for the Iraq/New Zealand game on June 20, you can watch every game from your couch. And, on that day, you should probably be watching Spain anyway.

Who’s playing?

The champions of FIFA’s six regions, plus the World Cup holders (Italy) and host (South Africa) make up this tournament.

Spain, New Zealand and Iraq will join South Africa in Group A while Brazil, Italy, Egypt and the United States comprise a far tougher Group B.

Team capsules

Spain

Qualified: Euro 2008 winner
FIFA World Rank: 1
Players to watch: Fernando Torres (Liverpool), David Villa (Valencia), Iker Casillas (Real Madrid) and Cesc Fàbregas (Arsenal)
Skinny: Have to be considered the favorites, along with Brazil, to take the trophy.

New Zealand

Qualified: 2008 Oceania Cup winner
FIFA World Rank: 82
Players to watch: Simon Elliott (San Jose Earthquakes), Chris Killen (Celtic) and Ivan Vicelich (Auckland City)
Skinny: As the lowest ranked team in the field, the Kiwis have their work cut out for them. They are in a favorable group, however.

Iraq

Qualified: 2007 Asian Cup winner
FIFA World Rank: 77
Players to watch: Younis Mahmoud (Al-Gharafa), Emad Mohammed (Sepahan) and Hawar Mulla Mohammed (Anorthosis Famagusta)
Skinny: Earned a 1-1 draw with Poland in South Africa in a friendly last week, and looked pretty good doing it. The Iraqis have a good chance of finishing second in this group.

South Africa

Qualified: 2010 World Cup host
FIFA World Rank: 72
Players to watch: Steven Pienaar (Everton), Aaron Mokoena (Blackburn Rovers) and Rowen Fernández (Arminia Bielefeld)
Skinny: Not having Benni McCarthy in the side could spell big trouble for the Bafana Bafana. His 75 career caps and 31 goals will be sorely missed by a team that might end up lacking punch in this tournament.

Brazil

Qualified: 2007 Copa America winner
FIFA World Rank: 5
Players to watch: Kaka (Real Madrid), Robinho (Manchester City), Luis Fabiano (Sevilla) and Júlio César (Inter Milan)
Skinny: Has had mixed results under Dunga in recent months. The real question is this: Which Brazil side will show up?

Italy

Qualified: 2006 World Cup winner
FIFA World Rank: 4
Players to watch: Fabio Cannavaro (Juventus), Luca Toni (Bayern Munich), Gianluca Zambrotta (AC Milan) and Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)
Skinny: The re-hire of coach Marcelo Lippi has done wonders for the Italians. And if that first match with the U.S. is anywhere near as goos as their 2006 World Cup clash, this tournament will be off to a fine start.

Egypt

Qualified: 2008 African Cup of Nations winner
FIFA World Rank: 40
Players to watch: Ahmed Hassan (Al-Ahly), Mohamed Aboutrika (Al-Ahly) and Mohamed Shawky (Middlesbrough)
Skinny: No one’s talking much about Egypt, but any nation that wins the African Cup has to be worth its salt. Still, being without their best striking option, Zaki, hurts them quite a bit.

United States

Qualified: 2007 Gold Cup winner
FIFA World Rank: 14
Players to watch: Landon Donovan (L.A. Galaxy), Tim Howard (Everton), Clint Dempsey (Fulham) and Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes)
Skinny: Some injuries to the back line and central midfield have coach Bob Bradley shuffling the lineup a bit. And playing Italy and Brazil right out of the chute isn’t going to help.

This entry was posted in Leagues: Major League Soccer, US National Team and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Confederations Cup Overview

  1. park bolivar says:

    Iraq v. South Africa was an exciting match, and I thought South Africa was showing impressive form and good promise. Spain v. New Zealand, on the other hand…. wow, shameful. Perhaps N.Z. needs to join the Asian conference, or, needs to talk the Ozzies into rejoining the Oceania conference to give them stiffer competition.

  2. Robert Bosshardt says:

    Thanks for this, guys. As ever, a super job. Particularly the “players-to-watch” category for every participating country is well conceived (although perhaps a short note re their positions would’ve been helpful–but, hey, I’m just nit-picking). Anyway, keep up the good–nay, superb–work. Cheers!

  3. eplnfl says:

    Randy: Great job here. Keep up the good work.

  4. fatema says:

    haay,
    i’m going for iraq and i think so far they have done great!=D
    During the south africa match i think iraq would have been able to make a bit more effort and the south africa’s tactics to take the ball to their side of the fields was poor tactics!
    And against spain, the worlds number 1, Iraq did fantastic!
    Really, what would you expect from the worlds number 1, another 2/3 goal maybe?
    The defence was superb!
    Well done iraq, and make your nation proud!!!
    ps. no one’s to insult iraq in anyway!!!
    cya

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