2017 Confederations Cup Preview

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GROUP A

Russia

FIFA Ranking: #63
Coach: Stanislav Cherchesov (Since 2016)
Formation: 3-5-2
Qualified via: Being the 2018 World Cup Hosts

This is a vastly inexperienced Russian side, but they have the home field advantage. Alan Dzagoev and Roman Zobnin will miss the cup due to injuries, but if they are to have any chance of qualifying they will need to beat New Zealand on Saturday. Fyodor Smolov will provide the offensive firepower. Smolov scored 18 goals in 22 games last season on FC Krasnodar. A 3-0 win over Hungary and a 1-1 draw in a friendly vs world #4 Chile gives me some hope, but it would take a lot for the national team to advance to the Knockout Stage.

New Zealand

FIFA Ranking: #95
Coach: Anthony Hudson (Since 2014)
Formation: 4-2-3-1
Qualified via: 2016 OFC Nations Cup

Don’t let the ranking dictate your thoughts on the All-Whites, New Zealand has serious talent, their ranking is weighed down by playing in the OFC, but there are legitimate stars on this New Zealand team. Chris Wood scored 27 goals for Leeds last season, carrying them to promotion. Anthony Hudson was a great hire, and late last year the All-Whites pulled off a draw against the US. Now, it’s maybe a few cycles to early for New Zealand to make a massive mark in the national scene, but don’t be surprised if they pull off a few points over significantly higher-ranked opponents.

Portugal

FIFA Ranking: #8
Coach: Fernando Santo (Since 2014)
Formation: 4-2-2-2
Qualified via: UEFA Euro 2016

Portugal is coming into this tournament straight off of the biggest moment in the history of Portuguese football, the 2016 Euro Cup championship. During the Euros, the Portuguese didn’t win a single game in normal time, but still came out with the trophy. Since winning the Euro, the Selecção das Quinas have gone 7-2, with the two losses being to Sweeden and Switzerland. André Silva and Christiano Ronaldo are one of the best goal scoring combinations in international football, and they should lead Portugal out of the group stage and into the knockout stage of the confederations cup.

Mexico

FIFA Ranking: #17
Coach: Juan Carlos Osorio (Since 2015)
Formation: 4-2-3-1
Qualified via: 2015 CONCACAF Cup

El Tri is an interesting side as we approach the 2017 Confederations Cup. Mexico is the only team to have previously won a Confederations Cup (El Tri won it in 1999) and the Mexicans have the most experience of any team in the tournament, having appeared in six Confederations Cups, Australia and New Zealand are tied for second as each have three, but Mexico comes in off of a dissapointing result, a 1-1 draw with the United States in World Cup Qualifying. I still think Chicharito can lead them to a semifinal appearance, but I’m not as confident as before.

Date (Time in EST)

Match

Prediction

Jun 17 (11 am)

Russia vs New Zealand

2-0 Russia

Jun 18 (11 am)

Portugal vs Mexico

2-1 Portugal

Jun 21 (11 am)

             Russia vs Portugal

3-0 Portugal

Jun 21 (2 pm)

Mexico vs New Zealand

2-1 Mexico

Jun 24 (11 am)

Mexico vs Russia

1-1 Draw

Jun 24 (11 am)

New Zealand vs Portugal

4-0 Portugal

Portugal and Mexico advance

GROUP B

Australia

FIFA Ranking: #48
Coach: Ange Postecoglou (Since 2013)
Formation: 4-3-3
Qualified via: 2015 AFC Asian Cup

The Socceroos represented Oceania three times in this tournament, but this is the first representing Asia. In their three previous appearances, the Aussies made it to the knockout stage twice. In the Past year, Australia split a pair of freindlies with Greece, went 4-4-0 in World Cup qualifying, and most recently got killed 4-0 by Brazil. The Aussies were riding high after their Aisian Cup win and their undefeated streak in World Cup qualifying, but the loss to Brazil may have stopped their momentum to a halt.

Cameroon

FIFA Ranking: #32
Coach: Hugo Broos (Since 2016)
Formation: 4-3-3
Qualified via: 2017 Africa Cup of Nations

Cameroon has dominated African football for what seems like forever. Over the past two years, the Indomitable Lions have lost just one competitive match, and that took extra time. However, outside of Africa the Lions have struggled. During those two years, Cameroon only played two cross-confederation friendlies, a 3-2 loss to France, and a 4-0 loss to Colombia. Cameroon probably won’t advance, but AFCON Player of the Tournament Christian Bassogog should lead the Lions to a few points.

Chile

FIFA Ranking: #4
Coach: Juan Antonio Pizzi (Since 2016)
Formation: 4-3-3
Qualified via: 2015 Copa América

Chile is on a bit of a hot streak in tournaments. In 2015 they shocked the world by beating Urugauay in the quarters and then Argentina in the finals to win their first Copa. The next year, in the Copa América Centenario they did it again. Crushing Mexico 7-0 in the quarterfinals, and then beating Colombia in the semis, before for the second straight year beating Argentina on penalties to win the Copa. Chile has thrived in international tourneys, also bringing in the lesser-known China Cup over China, Croatia, and Iceland. Alexis Sanchez is one of the best players in this tournament, and he will lead La Roja into the knockout stage.

Germany

FIFA Ranking: #3
Coach: Joachim Löw (Since 2006)
Formation: 3-2-3-2
Qualified via: 2014 World Cup

A side such as Germany would naturally be the favorite in this tournament, but German manager Joachim Löw is sending a mainly experimental squad to Russia. Only three members of the 2014 World Cup Champions side find their way onto Löw’s side for this tournament. Germany becomes a hard team to predict without their stars. but this side beat San Marino 3-0 on Saturday. Even without their stars, Germany should advance to the semis, but I don’t see this young squad making it into the Confederations Cup final.

Date (Time in EST)

Match

Prediction

Jun 17 (2 pm)

Cameroon vs Chile

2-0 Chile

Jun 19 (11 am)

Australia vs Germany

2-1 Germany

Jun 22 (11 am)

Cameroon vs Australia

1-1 Draw

Jun 22 (2 pm)

Germany vs Chile

1-0 Chile

Jun 23 (11 am)

Germany vs Cameroon

2-0 Germany

Jun 23 (11 am)

Chile vs Australia

2-0 Chile

 Chile and Germany advance

CONFEDERATIONS CUP KNOCKOUT STAGE

Semi-finals Final
28 June — Kazan
Portugal  2
2 July — Saint Petersburg
Germany  1
Portugal  1
29 June — Sochi
Chile  1 (Chile wins on PK’s)
Chile  3
Mexico  0
Third place play-off
2 July — Moscow
Germany  1 (a.e.t.)
Mexico  0

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