The Confederation Cup gets under way on Saturday the 15th June in Brazil. The competition brings together the best sides from the different footballing confederations around the globe, and could give some key pointers towards the World Cup finals next summer. In our betting preview, we feature each of the teams and give you the low down on their chances.
Here is a brief paragraph on each of the runners and riders in the 2013 Confederations Cup, including the qualification route, form and best odds;
Qualification Route: World Cup hosts in 2014
The hosts start as favourites, but are actually at their lowest ever ranking in the FIFA tables, at 22. Much of that fall is down to a lack of competitive football but they have not been that prolific in friendlies either, winning two of the last nine. Neymar remains the focus of attention, but the Samba boys have plenty of other star names in their ranks as you would expect, including Real Madrid’s Marcelo, Dante of European Champions Bayern Munich and Dani Alves from Barcelona. Questions will be asked of them defensively, and how they answer them will determine their tournament. They look a little short in the betting market, even with home advantage.
Best Odds: 2.5 (6/4) with BetVictor
Qualification Route: 2010 World Cup winners
Spain travel with a very strong squad, illustrating to potential backers that they are fully committed to this tournament. The travelling party is made up of many of the same players who have won the World Cup and European Championship, and has to be respected in this competition. One of Spain’s two defeats since 2008 came in this tournament versus USA, and if anyone can repeat that feat, they may well go all the way. The Spanish certainly look better value than the hosts. While the influence of Xavi and Iniesta may not be what it was, the likes of Javier Martinez and Jesus Navas are well capable of stepping up and ensuring the baton is passed on – they are the team to beat.
Best Odds: 2.9 (19/10) with Betfair
Qualification Route: UEFA 2012 Finalists
Italy underperformed in this competition four years ago but preparations look better this time. They travel with a strong squad and reached the final of the European Championship in their last major finals. Group A looks tough, but the traditional Italian strength of doing enough to ensure defeat is avoided should be sufficient to see them progress. From there, they are capable of anything, or more accurately Mario Balotelli is. Along with Stephan El Shaarawy and the ever green Andrea Pirlo, the Italians will be a threat and should not be ruled out lightly, their price does hint at a touch of value.
Best Odds: 8/1 (9.0) generally
Qualification Route: 2011 Copa America Winners
Uruguay are facing a bit of a slump in World Cup qualification, and may yet miss out entirely – it is a long way from their 2010 and 2011 form when they reached the latter stages of the World Cup and won the Copa America. Two stars creating numerous transfer headlines in Europe, Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, lead the attack but it might be the likes of Diego Godin and Martin Caceres that need to perform in order for Uruguay to progress. The clash with Nigeria looks key.
Best Odds: 11/1 (12.0) with BetVictor
Qualification Route: 2011 Concacaf Gold Cup Winners
Mexico enjoyed a great Olympics, downing Brazil no less. That has boosted confidence, but they are in a tough group alongside Italy and Brazil, and they will need to conjure up a result against one of those two to progress, hence their price. Javier Hernandez still carries the hopes of a nation, but the strength of those around him means success here is unlikely.
Best Odds: 14/1 (15.0) with Coral
Qualification Route: 2013 African Cup of Nations Winners
The biggest problem for Nigeria is preparation. They have World Cup qualifiers prior to this tournament and also travel without some influential players, including Victor Moses. They are the first of the genuine outsiders, but they can give backers a good run for their money if they can win the vital showdown with Uruguay.
Best Odds: 55/1 (56.0) with Betfair
Qualification Route: AFC Asian Cup winners
Japan have already secured a place at next Summer’s World Cup and will view this as very useful preparation. They are in a very tough group, and are therefore a big price to win outright. They are on the upcurve however and the likes of Shinji Kagawa and Shinji Okazaki they have players that can turn big games. Best watched in terms of the outright market, but look out for a shock in one of their group games.
Best Odds: 40/1 (41.0) with Coral
Qualification Route: 2012 OFC Nations Cup Winner
Tahiti are a squad made up almost entirely of domestic based players and they are woefully out of their depth in this. If they get any points at all in the group, it will be a major coup for them.
Best Odds: 5000/1 (5001.0) with BetVictor
The more comfortable group that Spain find themselves in gives them a small edge in the latter stages of the tournament, and their superior quality in squad depth makes them hard to look beyond. The Spaniards have proven form which is not something we can say about Brazil. The real threat could be Italy, who have the guile to keep out the very best, while offering plenty in attack. Their tougher group, coupled with a slightly thinner squad, makes the vote for Confederation Cup winners 2013, to go to Spain.
Back Spain outright at 2.9 with Betfair.