Chelsea's Jon Obi Mikel will face teammates Torres, Mata and Azpilicueta in the upcoming Confederations Cup when Spain take on Nigeria.
The Confederations Cup will be a welcome injection of international football for fans who are preparing for the upcoming 2013/2014 season.
In June, nations from the FIFA regions of Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, North and Central America and South America will descend on Brazil in order to compete in the curtain opener for the 2014 World Cup finals.
The teams from Group A and B will be taking part in the competition with varying objectives and with varying degrees of motivation. Some are using it as a brilliant opportunity for silverware, others see it as a chance to test tactics and players and some see it as a huge inconvenience.
FIFA’s top ranked team and their World Coach of the Year Vicente del Bosque have signalled their intent to win the Confederations Cup after failing to reach the final in 2009. They took a strong team to the previous competition and this time around del Bosque said he will choose players who have “played a very hard season”. The Spanish national team benefits from the incredible depth of talent they have to choose from and will look to experiment with some new players, with many predicting that Swansea City’s Michu will be called up. Their odds of overall victory at the Confederations Cup are 7/4.
La Celeste secured a place at the Confederations Cup by winning the Copa America in 2011 and many predict this summer may be their only chance of competing in Brazil. As it stands in World Cup qualifying they will not be taking part in 2014 after only winning three of their 11 games. Their terrible defensive record (joint worst in South American qualifying) is balanced with an incredible strike force of Luis Suarez, Diego Forlan and Edinson Cavani. Manager Oscar Tabarez has guided the team over a successful World Cup in 2010 and Copa America in 2011 and believes that this summer’s competition is a chance to blood in some players and experiment. Their odds of overall victory at the Confederations Cup are 10/1.
The lowest ranked nation at the Confederations Cup this summer has found their way to Brazil by their surprise victory in the OFC Nations Cup in 2012. After the final their manager Eddy Etaeta said that he did not believe the “players are now not really aware what we face at the Confederations Cup”. Etaeta’s squad is mostly comprised of amateur players plying their trade in the Tahiti First Division and taking on the world class professionals in Group B will be a huge challenge. This summer will be the team’s only chance of playing in Brazil after losing five games in Oceania World Cup qualifying and they will be looking to take as much as they can from the experience. Their odds of overall victory at the Confederations Cup are 2000/1.
The Super Eagles and their manager Stephen Keshi have had an extremely successful relationship, achieving victory in the 2013 African Cup of Nations and reaching the top of their World Cup qualifying group. The squad announced for the competition is an extremely strong one with stars such as Victor Moses, Emmanuel Emenike, John Obi Mikel and Vincent Enyeama. However, Nigerian technical director Shaibu Amodu has stated that World Cup qualification matches are hugely important and doesn’t believe there is any value in what he called “a World Cup dress rehearsal”. Their odds of overall victory at the Confederations Cup are 33/1.
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