While we’re less one than year away from the first match of FIFA World Cup 2014, the FIFA Confederations Cup starts tomorrow. The tournament, which is a dry-run for the World Cup, features eight teams from around the world competing over two weeks. The teams competing are Brazil, Spain, Nigeria, Mexico, Italy, Japan, Uruguay and Tahiti.
The eight teams represent every confederation, hence the name of the tournament.
Here’s a closer look at the teams that are battling to win the trophy:
Brazil (ranked 22nd) – Playing host nation this time around, the Samba boys will be playing in their own backyard with the most fanatical of football fans behind their back. Felipe Scolari’s troops have won the last two editions of the competition in 2005 and 2009. However with Brazil recently dropping out of the top 10 in FIFA rankings, the normally brilliant side will go into the competition without the ‘favorites’ tag. But with confidence brewing, it would be foolish to rule out any hope for the Brazilians in claiming the title for the 3rd consecutive installment.
Mexico (ranked 17th) – Simply a team that should by no means be underestimated. The Pumas qualified after prevailing against a highly fancied USA side in 2011 Gold Cup, and with their talented crop of players, a magical run may be on the cards despite a very poor performance in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers.
Italy (ranked 8th) – Boasting an outfit with a mixture of youthfulness and experience, Italy will prove to be one of the frontrunners in this years competition. Despite a humiliating early exit from the World Cup in 2010, Italy pounced back two years later as they shocked Germany en-route to the European Championships final where they lost to eventual champions Spain. Their resurgence is not over yet and this is the ideal stage to prove their skeptics wrong.
Japan (ranked 32nd) – Despite becoming the first nation to qualify for the World Cup, the Samurai Blues head into this year’s competition as ‘underdogs’. However ever since Alberto Zaccheroni was appointed as coach, the AFC Asian Champions have played 32 matches consisting of 23 wins, nine draws and five defeats.
Spain (ranked 1st) – Undoubtedly favorites heading into the upcoming tournament, they are the current World and European Champions. However if their lacklustre performances of late have been a cause for concern for many Spaniards. Nevertheless, with the team comprised mostly of Barcelona players, and with the side playing under the ‘tiki taka’ philosophy, it’s hard to see anyone standing a chance against them as La Roja look to secure the only international trophy that has eluded them up until this point.
Uruguay (ranked 19th) – The 2011 Copa America winners come into this competition with a chance of coming out with silverware. Boasting an attacking force comprised of the controversial Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan, this side may prove too tough to contain as they look to continue their good form heading into the World Cup.