Handled as a gown rehearsal for the quadrennial World Cup, the Confederations Cup brings collectively the perfect nationwide groups from every area in world soccer. It isn’t probably the most prestigious event, nevertheless it provides an opportunity to make an impression on a world degree and put together for the primary occasion the next yr.
There’s nonetheless a lot to observe over the subsequent few weeks as a number of the largest nations work out their strengths and weaknesses.
Associated – Confederations Cup: Squad lists for each workforce
Listed here are 5 storylines to observe in Russia:
Will Germany’s inexperience make a distinction?
Germany supervisor Joachim Low opted to assemble a youthful, much less skilled squad for the Confederations Cup, bringing simply three World Cup winners to Russia.
Julian Draxler, the veteran of the group, is simply 23 years previous. Twelve gamers within the squad have amassed six caps or fewer with Die Mannschaft – an inventory together with current debutants Amin Younes, Lars Stindl, Sandro Wagner, and Timo Werner.
Profitable the event shouldn’t be precisely the aim right here. Low stated he has lengthy seen it as a chance to showcase Germany’s subsequent era.
The Ajax winger Younes loved a robust season within the Eredivisie, Stindl produced a unbelievable second half of the 2016-17 marketing campaign – during which he scored a tie-altering hat-trick towards Fiorentina in Europa League motion – and Wagner, one of many late bloomers at 29, scored the objectives to assist Hoffenheim attain the Champions League.
There’s additionally Werner, the RB Leipzig standout who first represented his nation as lately as March. He can lead Low’s frontline.
Group B fixtures towards Cameroon, Chile, and Australia ought to permit these newcomers to check themselves and present Low whether or not they have sufficient talent to make the reduce for the 2018 World Cup.
Can Portugal show itself on international stage?
Holding three clear sheets in 4 knockout matches, Portugal gained Euro 2016, the nation’s first main worldwide title, with a mixture of resolute defending and well timed scoring.
Critics railed towards the Portuguese for his or her conservative fashion of play, suggesting that they have been much less deserving of the honour of defeating France in additional time.
Although there shouldn’t be any doubts, Portugal can show on the Confederations Cup that what occurred final summer time was no fluke.
Supervisor Fernando Santos recalled nearly all of his Euro protagonists, headlined by Cristiano Ronaldo. The scorer of the event-clincher, Eder, was left at house. Andre Silva, whom AC Milan signed for €38 million this week, has as an alternative asserted himself as Portugal’s future No. 9, scoring seven objectives in his first eight senior worldwide appearances.
Will Santos insist on the identical counter-attacking soccer that introduced Portugal success in France final yr? Does he even should?
Does Chile’s getting older squad have one thing left?
With a mean age over 27 years previous, Chile is among the most tenured squads to journey to Russia, however the overwhelming concern is that La Roja has peaked.
Nonetheless boasting the likes of energy ahead Alexis Sanchez, midfield dynamo Arturo Vidal, and defensive pit bull Gary Medel, Chile has a sturdy backbone. Whether or not the remainder of the nationwide workforce can maintain up is topic to debate.
Juan Manuel Pizzi stored Chile’s machine roaring within the Copa America Centenario, the place it dispatched Mexico 7-zero in an elimination recreation. Pizzi’s aspect additionally managed to as soon as once more frustrate Lionel Messi, who determined to take a quick sabbatical from worldwide soccer shortly thereafter.
However a helter-skelter 2018 World Cup qualifying marketing campaign has left many questioning if Pizzi can get the perfect out of this getting older staff. Losses to Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, and Ecuador have put Chile susceptible to lacking subsequent yr’s primary occasion.
Can Mexico compete with world’s greatest?
Within the acquainted confines of CONCACAF, Mexico has little points. It’s when El Tri ventures outdoors the area that it encounters probably the most problem.
The 7-zero reverse to Chile stays the most important blotch on Juan Carlos Osorio’s two-yr spell as Mexico’s supervisor – even when he boasts a wildly profitable seventy five % profitable price by means of 24 matches. Good leads to 2018 World Cup qualifying have despatched Mexico on its method to a seventh straight look within the competitors.
Mexico has additionally loved good runs on the Confederations Cup, which it gained in 1999. However that’s the extent of its international success. It has tripped up on the Spherical of sixteen stage at every of the previous six World Cups, and solely reached the quarter-finals as soon as earlier than.
With Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, the nation’s all-time main scorer with forty seven worldwide objectives, Osorio’s aspect has a chance to spice up the nation’s soccer credentials in Russia.
Has Cameroon lastly discovered its groove?
Because of Hugo Broos, the nicely-travelled soccer man who took over Cameroon in 2016, the Indomitable Lions gained a primary Africa Cup of Nations in 15 years final January, ending an embarrassing decade-and-a-half of disorganisation.
As lately as 2013, Cameroon was banned by FIFA because of governmental interference with the nation’s soccer federation. It marked a low level for a nation which had misplaced its means within the worldwide recreation, as Cameroon did not qualify for the 2012 and 2013 editions of AFCON.
Higher occasions are forward. Broos has chosen a younger workforce for the Confederations Cup, with Vincent Aboubakar and Christian Bassogog thrilling the plenty. The lack of Ambroise Oyongo to damage might have a harmful impact on Cameroon’s backline, and a four-zero loss to Colombia on Tuesday did not encourage confidence.
Simply reaching the purpose of relevance, nevertheless, is progress in itself after years of disappointment.