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FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017


FIFA CONFEDERATIONS CUP RUSSIA 2017 PREVIEW

The 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup will be hosted by Russia and kicks off on June 17 with concludes with the final on July 2 at Kretovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg. The quadrennial tournament which serves as a ‘dress rehearsal’ for next summer’s FIFA World Cup with 8 teams competing for a major international trophy.

The 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup will be shown live on Fox Sports (FS1) in the U.S.

The tournament features 8 teams, the host country – Russia, the current FIFA World Cup holders – Germany, and the 6 FIFA confederations champions – Australia (AFC Champion), Chile (CONMEBOL Champion), Mexico (CONCACAF Champion), New Zealand (OFC Champion), Portugal (UEFA Champion), and Cameroon (AFC Champion). The teams are split into 2 groups with the top 2 teams from each group advancing to the semifinal knockout stage.

The 16 matches will be played in 4 venues, each will also host matches at next summer’s FIFA World Cup. Krestovsky Stadium (Saint Petersburg Stadium) in Saint Petersburg is the main stadium and will host the opening match and the final as well as other matches. It is the largest stadium with a capacity of 68,134. The other venues being used are the Kazan Arena in Kazan with 45,379 capacity, Otkrytiye Arena (Spartak Stadium) in Moscow with 45,360 capacity, and Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi with 47,659 capacity.

Group A includes host Russia, New Zealand, Portugal, and Mexico.

Russia – The pressure is always on the host nation to show well. There is added pressure on Russia this summer as these will be their only competitive matches prior to next year’s World Cup. The Sbornaya have been inconsistent at best since Stanislav Cherchesov took over last year and there are many questions still surrounding the team.

Key Player(s) – Zenit Saint Petersburg forward Artem Dzyuba, Krasnodar forward Fyodor Smolov

Russia vs New Zealand June 17 @ Krestovsky Stadium
Russia vs Portugal June 21 @ Otkrytiye Arena
Mexico vs Russia June 24 @ Kazan Arena

New Zealand – New Zealand are the current champions of the Oceania Football Confederation (OTC). The confederation is considered the weakest among the 6. The All Whites could play a huge role in who advances to the knockout round with a result against either of the other teams likely to spoil their chances of advancing.

Key Player(s) – Marseille’s Bill Tuiloma

Russia vs New Zealand June 17 @ Krestovsky Stadium
Mexico vs New Zealand June 21 @ Fisht Olympic Stadium
New Zealand vs Portugal June 23 @ Krestovsky Stadium

Portugal – Portugal are the surprise of the tournament after winning UEFA Euro 2016 (drawing all group stage matches and winning only 1 game in regulation time before the final). But anything is possible with Cristiano Ronaldo the face of this A Seleção team. The question will be if the Real Madrid forward can find the support to help Portugal repeat their magical run from last summer.

Key Player(s) – See above. Players that needed to step forward Bayern Munich’s Renato Sanches, Inter’s João Mário, and AS Monaco’s Bernado Silva

Portugal vs Mexico June 18 @ Kazan Arena
Russia vs Portugal June 21 @ Otkrytiye Arena
New Zealand vs Portugal June 23 @ Krestovsky Stadium

Mexico – Mexico qualified as the champion of the 2015 CONCACAF Cup, the playoff between the 2013 and 2015 Gold Cup champions. El Tri defeated the USA, the 2013 Gold Cup Champion, to earn the berth in this summer’s tournament. Mexico is the only team at this year’s Confederations Cup to win the tournament previously. El Tricolors won when they hosted the tournament in 1999. The tournament along with CONCACAF World Cup qualifying matches, and the Gold Cup will make Mexico the hardest working team this summer. Juan Carlos Osorio’s side could potential play 17 games over a 60 day period depending on results.

Key Player(s) – Bayer Leverkusen’s Javier ‘Chicharito‘ Hernández, Porto’s Miguel Layún

Portugal vs Mexico June 18 @ Kazan Arena
Mexico vs New Zealand June 21 @ Fisht Olympic Stadium
Mexico vs Russia June 24 @ Kazan Arena

Group B includes Cameroon, Chile, Australia, Germany

Cameroon – Cameroon was the last team to qualify with the African Cup of Nations taking place earlier this year in Gabon. It is the Indomitable Lions 3rd appearance in the tournament (2001 and 2003) but they will be the underdog of the group.

Key Player(s) – Porto (on loan to Besiktas) Vincent Aboubakar

Cameroon vs Chile June 18 @ Otkrytiye Arena
Cameroon vs Australia June 22 @ Krestovsky Stadium
Germany vs Cameroon June 25 @ Fisht Olympic Stadium

Chile – Chile made a statement qualifying for the Confederations Cup by denying Brazil, the tournament’s most decorated team, and Argentina from Russia. La Roja have the skill and finishing ability to go far in the tournament.

Key Player(s) – Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez, Bayern Munich’s Arturo Vidal, Manchester City’s Claudio Bravo

Cameroon vs Chile June 18 @ Otkrytiye Arena
Germany vs Chile June 22 @ Kazan Arena
Chile vs Australia June 25 @ Otkrytiye Arena

Australia – Australia are the only team to ever qualify for the Confederations Cup from 2 confederations. They are the current holders of the Asian Cup and previously qualified as the Oceania champion. The move to AFC was largely to prepare them for international tournaments and they are back at the Confederations Cup for the 3rd time.

Key Player(s) – Queens Park Rangers Massimo Luongo, Bayer Leverkusen’s Robbie Kruse

Australia vs Germany June 19 @ Fisht Olympic Stadium
Cameroon vs Australia June 22 @ Krestovsky Stadium
Chile vs Australia June 25 @ Otkrytiye Arena

Germany – The current World Cup holders, Germany, will be most fan’s favorites to add to their trophy collection but early indications are that head coach Joachim Löw is planning on resting several marquee players and searching for more depth for a run in 2018. Regardless, Germany’s ‘second’ string include some of the top club players in the world so don’t expect a huge drop off for Die Manschaft.

Key Player(s) - Bayer Leverkusen’s Julian Brandt, Hoffenheim’s Niklas Süle, RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner

Australia vs Germany June 19 @ Fisht Olympic Stadium
Germany vs Chile June 22 @ Kazan Arena
Germany vs Cameroon June 25 @ Fisht Olympic Stadium