Australia Bound for 2017 Confederations Cup
The FIFA Confederations Cup, as a national teams tournament, is second only to the FIFA World Cup in global football. Like the World Cup, the Confederations Cup takes place quadrennially; always in the year before the next World Cup. So the 2017 Confederations Cup, to be held in Russia from 17 June to 2 July, is also regarded as a rehearsal for the main event next year.
Previously, Australia had qualified for the Confederations Cup only three times: in 1997, 2001 and 2005. On all three occasions, it was as the top team in Oceania’s OFC. This year, for the first time, the Australian team made it into the Confederations Cup as the winner of the Asian confederation, the AFC.
That left the top spot in the OFC open for New Zealand to take, and as a result both sides are in the tournament for the first time ever. They will face six other teams: Russia, Germany and Portugal from UEFA, Cameroon from CAF, Mexico from CONCACAF and Chile from CONMEBOL.
Moscow’s Confederations Cup Park Already a Hit
The Confederations Cup action will be spread across four Russian cities: Moscow, St Petersburg, Kazan and Sochi, and the hosts are pulling out all the stops to display their readiness for next year’s World Cup. Moscow’s Confederations Cup Park has been set up in one of the city’s most popular entertainment districts, the Muzeon Park of Arts.
It is already drawing fans, more than a month before the tournament start, to take selfies with the trophy or view the various football-related exhibits. Robokeeper, the unbeatable robot goalie, is attracting the biggest crowds.
The eight teams in the Confederations Cup are divided into two pools in the opening stages of the competition. Australia is in Group B, with Cameroon, Chile and current World Cup champions Germany.
So the Aussies face a tough start, and it will take a few big upsets for them to make it beyond the pool stages into the knockout rounds. If they do manage that feat, of course, they are going to reward punters who back them handsomely.