The field in the Confederations Cup in 2017 is going to be an interesting one. Stalwarts of the soccer world, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, England and France all failed to qualify for the tourney, while arguably the best team in CONCACAF, the United States and the best team in Africa, Egypt and the top team in Asia, South Korea isn’t here either. Still, there are eight really good teams that are heading to Russia for the lead-in tournament to the 2018 World Cup.
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The Germans haven’t been beaten in a match since the semifinals of Euro 2016. Joachim Low though, isn’t exactly bringing a veteran side with him to Russia. Of all of the players called up to the squad, they’ve got a total of nine goals scored for their country.
The argument could be made after the announcement of the rosters for the Confederations Cup that Portugal should be the favorite. The Portuguese have the tougher group to try to get through with Russia, New Zealand and Mexico, but with Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani leading the way, A Seleccao could be headed towards a second straight major tournament title after winning Euro 2016 last year.
All the Chileans have done in the last couple years is win Copa America twice. This South American side technically only needed the 2015 Copa America title to reach the Confederations Cup, but Chile went on to win Copa American Centenario in the United States as well. Three 20+ goal scorers are on this roster for their nation, and Claudio Bravo could end up being the best net minder in this tournament.
This is such a big moment for Russia. This team has been building up to the 2018 World Cup for years and years, but it doesn’t feel like it’s quite gotten there yet. The team hasn’t played in many competitive matches of late because of the way that it doesn’t have to go through World Cup qualifying. The last time it was on the pitch against Chile, it did secure a 1-1 draw in a friendly match in Moscow, and the hope is that that result can lead the team to at least the knockout rounds in the Confederations Cup.
El Tri won the Gold Cup and the playoff game against the United States, and for the most part, they’ve done a good job against the regional teams in North America. On the international stage though, Mexico hasn’t had a lot of success in recent years, including getting blasted by Chile 7-0 in the quarterfinals of Copa America Centenario.
Cameroon finished as the runner-up in the 2003 Confederations Cup in France, but since that point, the team hasn’t picked up even a single point in a major global competition, including losing all three matches it played in both the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. Even going 3-3-0 in the African Cup of Nations in 2017 wasn’t all that impressive, though the Lions ultimately won the tourney.
The Aussies have reached the Confederations Cup Final before, but this isn’t likely going to be a great tournament for them. The Socceroos were ranked No. 102 in the world two years ago at this time, their lowest FIFA ranking ever. Recently though, they’ve been in better form, beating the UAE and Saudi Arabia at home to move closer to qualifying for the World Cup.
New Zealand (+15000)
Oceania hasn’t had any real success in the Confederations Cup. Australia did once reach the finals of this tournament as an OFC team, but of the existing OFC clubs, none are anything to write home about. New Zealand probably doesn’t ultimately stand a chance at the World Cup even though they’ll likely fall in the intercontinental playoff. The best player on the club, Chris Wood, plays his club soccer at Leeds United, while one of the young strikers that the team is excited about, Monty Patterson, plays for Braintree Town, a British team that was relegated from the National League this season. That’s about all you need to know about the White Ferns.
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