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FIFA CONFEDERATIONS CUP 2009 PREVIEW:
FIFA CONFEDERATIONS CUP 2009 PREVIEW:
The FIFA Confederations Cup is a tournament that FIFA has implemented recently. It currently includes the winners of each of the 6 Different Confederations Competitions being North & Central America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa & Oceania as well as the Current World Cup Champions and World Cup Hosts. The first tournament was first held back in 1992 in Saudi Arabia, however this Competition was initially called The King Fahd Cup. In fact the 1995 and 2nd edition of this competition was also called the King Fahd Cup and also held in Saudi Arabia. The first time the Competition was officially called the Confederations Cup was in 1997 where it was also held in Saudi Arabia. Argentina became the first ever Champions back in 1992 where only 4 Nations took part. Denmark won the competition in 1995 and the Mighty Brazilians, with stars Ronaldo, Romario & Denilson, walked away with the trophy in 1997 when the competition first had 8 Nations participating. The 1999 Confederations Cup was held in Mexico where the hosts were victorious. In 2001 the competition was held in Korea and Japan as a curtain raiser for the FIFA World Cup which was held in the same countries in 2002. The Winners in 2001 were France. In 2003 France were both hosts and defending Champions and they became the first team to win the competition consecutively. The Tournament was however overshadowed by the death of Cameroon Player Mark Vivien Foe who passed away during the semi-final between Cameroon and Colombia. The 2005 Confederations Cup was held in Germany as they were the hosts for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. All future Confederations Cups would now be held every 4 years with the hosts being the FIFA World Cup hosts as well. The Champions in 2005 were Brazil.
Confederations Cup 2009 Preview – South Africa
The 2009 Confederations Cup being held here in South Africa will start on Sunday 14th June 2009 at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg where hosts South Africa will take on Asian Champions Iraq. The 2 week tournament will conclude with the final being held at Ellis Park on the 28th of June 2009. The other host cities for the Confederations Cup include Rustenburg, Bloemfontein & Pretoria.
SOUTH AFRICA SPAIN IRAQ NEW ZEALAND
Group A features hosts South Africa, Bafana Bafana, who could not have got a kinder draw. Grouped with Iraq and New Zealand our boys have definitely got the best possible draw to qualify for the semi-finals. Under Brazilian coach Joel Santana, South Africa have been below par, by failing to qualify from the 1st phase of both the 2010 AFCON & FIFA World Cup Qualifiers making the Confederations Cup the last Competitive opportunity for us before the 2010 World Cup. The omission of Benni Mccarthy & Nasief Morris for disciplinary reasons and the loss of Surprise Moriri to injury was a setback for us but the likes of Teko Modise & Steven Pienaar should still provide enough for us to beat both New Zealand and Iraq. Lets hope we can achieve at least a semi-final. Well if South Africa were pleased with the draw then Spain must be ecstatic with their passage to the knockout phase. Defending European Champions and current World Number 1, Spain are among the favourites to win the tournament and definitely Group A. Coach Vicente Del Bosque has taken over from successful Euro 2008 Coach, Luis Aragones, and has almost ensured that Spain have qualified for the 2010 World Cup with their 100% Record. Led by Goalkeeping Legend Iker Casillas Spain boast a host of superstars who are playing well as a unit. The loss of both Marcos Senna & Andreas Iniesta to injury should not be a problem for Spain who have the likes of David Silva, Xavi, Fabregas & Xabi Alonso all fighting for places in the centre of the park. Upfront the lethal combination of Torres & Villa will be handful for any defence. Iraq the reigning Asian Champions are the only team at the 2009 Confederations Cup that will definitely not be coming to the 2010 World Cup as they have been eliminated prior to the final phase of the Asian Qualification Section. However Iraq do have a squad who have played together for many years and have enjoyed various success as a team including the 2000 Asian Youth Championship, Semi-finalists at the 2004 Athens Olympic and of course the 2007 Asian Cup. Under Coach Bora Milutinovic, they have a coach who has vast international success coaching 5 different teams at FIFA World Cups which is a record. Star Player and Captain Younis Mahomed will be the key if Iraq are to progress to the semi-finals. New Zealand are perhaps better known for their Rugby. The loss of their Injured captain Ryan Nelson who plays for Blackburn Rovers is a big blow to New Zealand’s already tough task. Star striker and leading scorer Shane Smeltz needs to be at his best if New Zealand are to have any chance of qualification.
BRAZIL ITALY EGYPT USA
Group B is a much tougher group. Current South American champions Brazil are always looked upon as one of the favourites for any international football competition. Coach Dunga has decided against calling up superstars Ronaldo and Ronaldinho into his squad. However Brazil should have more than enough talent to produce results with the likes of Daniel Alves, Kaka, Robinho & Pato all in the squad. By the time they play Italy in the game of the group phase, Brazil will hoped to have already qualified for the semi-final. Italy the reigning World Cup Champions had a forgettable Euro 2008 campaign. Their disappointment in that competition led to Coach Donadoni being replaced by World Cup wining coach Marcelo Lipi being reinstated. Since their disappointment at the Euro 2008 championships, Italy have got back to their winning ways and currently lead the 2010 Qualifying Group. Defence has always been the backbone of Italian success of late and with the likes of Cannavaro, Zambrotta & goalkeeper Buffon it is no different this time. Pirlo should be the main man in midfield along with De Rossi. Like Brazil Italy will hope to already be in the semi-finals before they play the Brazilians in their final group game. Egypt, the reigning AFCON champions are perhaps the most consistent team in Africa having won the last 2 Nations Cup competitions. Coach Hassan Shehata has created a good team that has played together for some time. He has however left out Wigan Striker Mido but Egypt still have talent with the likes of Mohamed Aboutrike, Mohamed Zidane & Amr Zaky in the team. Egypt have a tough task to make it from this Group but playing in Africa they hope will assist them in causing an upset. USA are perhaps the underdogs of the Group having a very tough task ahead if they hope for success at the Confederations Cup. Coach Bob Bradley will be looking to his experienced European stars Carlos Bocanegra, DaMarcus Beasley and Landon Donavan to be on form if USA like Egypt hope to cause an upset and take out either Italy or Brazil.
There are still tickets available direct from FIFA’s web page direct as of Wednesday 10 June 2009. the following are available for the selected key matches:
Opening Ceremony South Africa vs Iraq Ellis Park Only Category 1 Available @ R 700-00/ticket
Semi-final Winner A vs Runner up B Bloemfonetin All Categories Available from R 140-00/ticket
Semi-final Winner B vs Runner up A Ellis Park Category 1 & 2 Available from R525-00/ticket
Final Ellis Park Category 1 Only @ R 1400-00/ticket
Brazil vs Italy at Loftus Group B Game is currently not available but most likely is sold out.
Japan for the 2nd World Cup in a row became the first team to qualify for the World Cup after they beat Uzbekistan 1-0. Australia & Korea Republic (South) also joined Japan as guaranteed qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup. With just 1 direct place and 1 playoff place available the battle for the rest of the Asian confederation including Saudi Arabia and Iran is set to hot up.
The Big 5 seeded teams in Africa had mixed fortunes in the recent qualifiers that took place this past weekend. Nigeria and Ivory Coast were both successful with victories, however Tunisia and Burkina Faso also won keeping the pressure on the both of them. Ghana won their tie 2-0 over Kanoute’s Mali and are looking good in their group. Cameroon played to a goalless draw against Morocco and the both of them are not looking good in their group being last and 2nd last respectively. Egypt were shocked by a 3-1 loss to Algeria and are now bottom of their group. Its early days but some of the Big Teams are already in a bit of trouble.
The USA were dealt a qualifying defeat by Costa Rica, but recovered over the weekend to beat Honduras 2-1 and are now 2nd behind Costa Rica who beat Trinidad 3-2. Mexico are struggling in the group and once again lost this time to El Salvador and are currently 5th. Newly appointed Mexican coach Javier Aguirre has a job on his hands to lead the Mexicans to the World Cup.
Brazil, Argentina, Chile & Paraguay are all looking good to take the 4 direct places available to the South American confederation for the 2010 World Cup. While leaders Paraguay suffered defeats to both Chile and Brazil they are still third. Brazil who thumped Uruguay 4-0 and then beat Paraguay have moved to the top of the table followed by Chile who also won both their games and both are looking good to qualify. Argentina once again stumbled by losing 2-0 to Ecuador but are still in 4th place and need to start being consistent.
Portugal’s disappointing qualifying campaign looks to have come good with a 2-1 victory over Albania but currently in 3rd place 7 points off the leaders Denmark and 4 points behind Hungary they need to have a string of good results to stand a chance of qualifying. Slovakia achieved the biggest victory of the rounds with a 7-0 smashing of San Marino and moved to the top of Group 3. England continued their dominance in Group 6 as they blasted Kazakhstan 4-0 and Andorra 6-0 and so maintained their 100% record. England are almost through to South Africa needing just 1 more victory out of 3. The biggest news out of Europe is that the Netherlands became the 1st European team and 4th nation to qualify for the FIFA 2010 World Cup after they beat Iceland 2-1.
DONT FORGET THE BEST OF THE BEST CONFEDS CUP FANTASY LEAGUE