In June of 2017, eight top regional teams will clash to fight for the honor of being the Confederations Cup champion. We will see several major heavyweights, while some others are coming in to try and play spoiler. The groups have officially been drawn and we have everything set.
Here’s a look at who will face off in the group stages.
The team that shocked the footballing world in the summer of 2016 will be the top-dog in Group A. Portugal has a balanced team with the luxury of having one of the world’s best players in Cristiano Ronaldo as captain. It’s very difficult envisioning Portugal unable to advance.
New Zealand is not heading to this cup with expectations of winning. They could, though, play spoiler to one of the teams battling for second place (two teams advance per group).
Russia, as host, will hope to live up to their title at home. We saw South Africa in the 2010 World Cup fail to advance out of group, and Russia will not want follow those footsteps. However, will they have enough firepower? They definitely will have the crowd on their side, but the group will not be a walk in the park.
Mexico is no new face to the Confederations Cup. They won the cup in 1999 by defeating Brazil, 4-3, in the final. Interestingly enough, they are the only team in 2017 to have won the tournament. Their previous appearance was in 2013 where they had a poor showing, failing to advance to the knockout stages. It will be a tough task in 2017 due to the fact they have WCQ only four days before the cup starts, and it will be against none other than their rival, USA, before heading to Russia.
Group B: Germany (Reigning World Cup Champions), Chile (Copa América Champions), Australia (AFC Cup Champions), TBD (African Cup Champions).
The problem with a cup that features eight top teams in the world is that it makes no easy groups. Group B has its own scary lineup with World Cup champions Germany. Now, the only thing that may make Germany come out with less than necessary fireworks is the call-up. There is no guarantee that they will have everyone on their roster that you would see in a WCQ game.
If you were to ask me who I thought the champion will end up being, I would point to Chile. They are a very organized machine, and when they get clicking, they are difficult to breakdown. Similarly to Germany, though, it all depends on who they bring. They have important qualifiers in August, and they are fighting with Ecuador and Argentina to keep a spot in South America.
We do not know the team that will represent Africa, yet, but Australia is no pushover in this tournament. Unlike the powerhouses, they will be bringing the house to try and get to the knockout rounds. Look for them to possibly edge a team like Germany to advance.
Keep it right here on The Stoppage Time, powered by Azteca Soccer, for more world football news and updates on everything 2017 Confederations Cup. Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and subscribe to our YouTube page.