The summer of 2013, sandwiched in between European Championship and World Cup years, will at least get some international football to be enjoyed. This will come in the form of the FIFA Confederations Cup, which pulls together the continental champions from across the world. The action will be taking place in Brazil, so it will be a good tester ahead of next summer’s FIFA World Cup at least. Because of the varying weight of challengers coming in from the around the world, the eight nation competition may not be that hard to predict. Still, that doesn’t mean there isn’t value around.
As the next World Cup hosts, Brazil get their place at the tournament and they are also the defending champions. The Selecao have won the FIFA Confederations Cup more times than any other nation, three times before, as they head to the ninth edition. As hosts of the next World Cup, Brazil’s competitive action has been very limited, and the international friendlies which they have been playing hasn’t produced the kind of results and powerful winning touch that they have come to be associated with. The pressure is going to be on to get things right here in what could be their most important warm up ahead of Brazil 2014. They are trading as 11/8 favourites to win the tournament, helped by home soil.
Group A: Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Italy
Group B: Spain, Uruguay, Tahiti, Nigeria
But the challenge of European and World Champions Spain, probably won’t be far behind them. Vicente del Bosque’s squad is still packed with talent, and they arguably have something that the current Brazilian squad don’t, and that is a proven winning mentality. That may make a huge difference at the end of the day. Spain have tweaked their system to cope with aging legs over time, but still they find a way to get things done, as proven at the 2012 European Championships, where many thought they would be a spent force. Trading at 13/8 second favourites in 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup betting and with all of the focus and pressure on Brazil, who would put it past Spain to sneak home?
The format of the competition is two groups of four for the first round with the top two sides from each group moving ahead to the knockout semi finals. So there is group betting to look at as well, again Spain and Brazil being favourites in their respective pools.
The rest of field is made up by AFC Asian Cup winners Japan, CONCACAF Gold Cup winners Mexico, Copa America holders Uruguay, OFC Nations Cup winners Tahiti, Africa Cup of Nations winners Nigeria and Italy. Italy are there because Spain hold both the European Championship and World Cup titles and winners of both competitions earn spots in the FIFA Confederations Cup. With Spain holding both titles, the extra spot was given to Italy as Euro 2012 runners up.
The Azzurri though perhaps are the best value shot behind Brazil and Spain, as they have good experience and are in good form themselves. They do have it in them to turn up and frustrate the other nations and they aren’t in bad shape. They will perhaps take precedence over the fading force that is Uruguay. Sadly Uruguay have failed to build on their fantastic 2011 Copa America win despite having an exciting and talented squad. They aren’t firing at their best. The rest of the field look to be a long way short of the big guns in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup.
You can find Confederations Cup Football Betting Odds here