A young Germany, a hungry Chile, Portugal that doesn’t want to stop winning: the 2017 version of the Confederations Cup has everything to keep us excited, and even if not all the top players will feature, some interesting prospects will be there to entertain in those long summer soccer-free days.
Failing to follow Portugal into the semifinals would be a failure for one of the nations that have won this competition in the past. Russia and New Zealand are simply not on the same level, with Carlos Vela and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez leading the line for the central Americans. A surprising result against Portugal could see them even top their group.
Probably the weakest team of them all, the All Whites lack quality, although have some defensive solidity that could make them a harder client than what people think. Would be a real surprise to see them get past the group stages though, but positive results against Mexico or Russia could be reason to be satisfied.
The European Champions simply won’t want to stop winning. The pressure is on for a team that want to show that the Euro 2016 triumph wasn’t a one-off. Enough said by mentioning Cristiano Ronaldo in the squad, Pepe and Bernardo Silva will also be there, as well as Joao Moutinho, Andre Silva, Nani, Ricardo Quaresma and Gelson Martins. Plenty of talent and the right mentality. Along with Germany and Chile, the favourites to win it.
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) June 15, 2017
Here in a different manner to the other seven, as hosts Russia will have to make the most of the chance to prepare both on and off the pitch for next year’s real deal in the World Cup. Many of the stars that impressed in Euro 2008 are gone, with Alan Dzagoev being the biggest name. They could fight for a place in the semi-finals.
The veteran Tim Cahill is still the biggest name around, with Tom Rogic and Matthew Leckie being the main weapons. The Socceroos lack the overall quality and experience of previous competitions, but will be looking to go as far as possible. Their unbeaten run in the World Cup qualifiers shows good form, but it is hard to see them any further up than third in their group.
Unlike the Germans, the South Americans have all their best players in tow and will be in Russia with one thing in mind: winning the competition. Failing to impress would be a big disappointment. The likes of Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal will be amongst the stars of the tournament, and it would be no surprise to see Juan Antonio Pizzi’s men not only top the group, but also go all the way and lift the trophy.
The World Champions would be the clear favourites had they not opted to give experience to some of their younger stars. That is not to say that players like Julian Draxler, Emre Can, Joshua Kimmich, Ter Stegen and Shkodran Mustafi aren’t stars, but definitely lack the international experience of some of the veterans, like Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos or Thomas Mueller. Germany will still be one of the main teams, and have everything to win it.
Winners of the African Cup of Nations, Cameroon enter the competition in not the best run of form, but like in their own continent, they could be one of the surprises of the tournament. Difficult, nonetheless, to see them progress past the group stages at the expense of either Chile or Germany, both clear favourites to go through.