26 Days to Go: 2009 Confederations Cup FAQ
We're 26 days from the start of FIFA's 2010 World Cup dry run in South Africa, the 2009 Confederations Cup.
Like many of you, I have no idea what the Confederations Cup is.
Let's spend the next 26 days previewing the Cup, answering questions and becoming Confederations Cup experts!
First, we'll answer the pressing question of the day: What is the Confederations Cup?
Then we'll preview the teams, the groups, the stadiums and follow the action until a champion is crowned June 28th!
Let's get to it!
The easiest way of starting this is by answering the most important questions.
I'll use a simple Q and A format for this first post.
Q: So, what's the Confederations Cup?
A: The FIFA Confederations Cup is a national team football tournament, held every four years by FIFA. It is contested by the winners of each of the six FIFA confederation championships (Africa, Europe, Asia, North America, South America, Oceania) plus the previous World Cup winner and the host country, bringing the total to eight.
According to the South African Times, 'The eight team championship is now regarded as second only in prestige to the World Cup finals and is hosted 12 months before the World Cup finals in order for Fifa and the Local Organising Committee to test the readiness of their stadiums and infrastructures ahead of the world showpiece. Most coaches and countries regard the 2009 Confederations Cup as a dress rehearsal for the 2010 showpiece.'
Q: When is the Cup?
A: It starts in 26 days, June 14th. It lasts until June 28th. Two weeks.
Q: Who is in the Cup?
A: The eight teams this year are ...
- South Africa - Host nation
- Italy - 2006 World Cup champions
- USA - North American champions
- Brazil - South American champions
- Iraq - Asian champions
- Egypt - African champions
- Spain - European champions
- New Zealand - Oceania champions
Q: Where will the matches be held?
A: Four cities will host matches.
- Johannesburg (Coca Cola Park)
- Pretoria (Loftus Versfeld Stadium)
- Bloemfontein (Free State Stadium)
- Rustenburg (Royal Bafokeng Stadium)
Q: What are the matches, group stages, etc.?
A: The eight teams are divided into two groups, A and B. A random draw was held and teams from the same confederation were not drawn into the same group
Here's how it breaks down ...
The most anticipated first round matchup takes place on June 21st when Brazil takes on defending world champions Italy.
Brazil are defending Confederations Cup champions. The 5-time world champions beat Argentina in the final in Germany in 2005.
Q: What's the schedule?
A: Please click here for a match schedule.
Q: Where's the final held?
A: The top two teams in each group advance to the knock out stages.
Group winners will face the other group's runner-up in the semifinals.
The final will be held June 28th in Johannesburg's Coca Cola Park.
Q: Any history?
A: I've no clue. But how about we scour the 'net for some answers?
According to Wikipedia, the tournament has its origins in the King Fahd Cup, held in Saudi Arabia in 1992 and 1995 and contested by the Saudi Arabian national side and a few continental champions.
FIFA took over the running of the competition in 1997, renaming it the FIFA Confederations Cup and staging the tournament every two years up until 2005.
In 2005, FIFA decided to hold the tournament every four years - one year before the World Cup, in the World Cup host country - making it more or less an official dress rehearsal for the World Cup.
Previous Confederations Cup tournaments:
- 1997: Saudi Arabia (winner Brazil)
- 1999: Mexico (winner Mexico)
- 2001: South Korea/Japan (winner France)
- 2003: France (winner France)
- 2005: Germany (winner Brazil)