The Confederations Cup kicks off tonight in Brazil, as 8 teams battle it out in this World Cup warm-up tournament. Lets take a look and see who’s in it.
As hosts, Brazil qualify for this tournament.
Key player: Neymar.
Neymar has been tipped to become a superstar in Brazil and Barcelona agree, as they splashed out €57m on the 21 year old. He has scored 20 goals in 33 appearances for his country and we be looking to add more goals over the next two weeks.
Prediction: Personally, I feel this Brazil squad is over-hyped. I haven’t seen Neymar in action that much but what I have seen, he hasn’t lived up to the hype. Nevertheless, there on home territory and I see them in the final.
qualified as winners of the CONCACAF Gold Cup
Key player: Javier Hernandez
Hernandez has been a crucial asset to both club and country in the past few years. He was their best player in the 2010 World Cup and he led Mexico to the CONCACAF Gold Cup, scoring 7 goals in the tournament. He has scored 32 goals in 50 senior Mexico appearances.
Prediction: I’m really excited by this Mexico team. I was really impressed with them when they stunned Brazil in the Olympic football final last year. They will definitely make the semi’s and I think they are the dark horses.
qualified as the 2011 Asian Cup winners
Key player: Shinji Kagawa
In 2012, Kagawa won the German League with Borussia Dortmund and became the first Japanese player to win an English Premier League medal with Man United. He is an exciting young talent and is definitely one to look out for. Internationally, he has scored 13 goals in 39 appearances.
Prediction: Japan played really well at the last World Cup and people really underestimate their ability. Keisuke Honda is also a crucial player to the team. This is a hard group, so I don’t think they will qualify.
Spain won both European and World competitions therefore Italy are allowed to compete as runners up of Euro 2012.
Key player: Andrea Pirlo
Despite being 34 years old, Pirlo is still crucial to the Italian midfield as we saw at Euro 2012. In his 11 year international career, he has only scored 12 goals. He is getting older and we will see if he still has it or has a year made a huge difference.
Prediction: The Italians are always hard to predict but I don’t see them making it out of the group. There are some exciting young players in the squad and Balotelli, but I have doubts they can duplicate their Euro 2012 success.