It might be a novelty for a lot of football fans, but the 2013 Confederations Cup is still a pretty big deal, at least for the countries that are participating.
It doesn’t hold the global appeal of the World Cup because, well, only eight teams are participating, including the happy-to-be-there squad from Tahiti who have already gone on record saying that scoring a single goal throughout the entire tournament would be a matter of “national pride”. At least they’re not delusional about their expectations, right?
But at the very least, it could make for some very entertaining football while we try to find comfort from two months of club-less football.
But even if the tournament lacks the European and South American star power of countries like Germany, the Netherlands, Argentina, and Columbia, the Confederations Cup still has some heavyweight teams participating, including the reigning and defending World Cup and European Cup champion Spain.
Surprisingly, the number 1 ranked team in the world isn’t considered as the favorites to win the quadrennial tournament that’s held the year before the World Cup as a trial-by-fire of sorts for the host country. That distinction belongs to hosts Brazil. The LVH SuperBook has posted the Selecao as a 7/5 favorite to win the tournament, despite having recently dropped to number 22 (its lowest in, like, ever) in the latest FIFA world rankings. Chalk it up to pressure to win in front of its home crowd, plus the young talent being fielded by the 5-time World Cup champs as the reason for the ‘favorites’ tag being placed around its neck.
Meanwhile, Spain isn’t too far off of Brazil at 8/5 odds to win while European Cup runner-up Italy, who qualified for the tournament because Spain already had the World Cup title in its pocket, has been given 13/2 odds to win the tournament. Two other South American teams, Mexico (2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup winner) and Uruguay (2011 Copa America winner), have both been penciled in at 10/1 odds to win the title.
Nigeria is the sole African representative in the tournament, earning its way to the Confederation Cup by winning the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and the 25/1 odds to win the tournament. Asian representative Japan earned its ticket by winning the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, although the LVH SuperBook doesn’t think too highly of its chances with the 40/1 odds tacked on the Blue Samurai.
And then there’s Tahiti. The 138th ranked national football team who earned the distinction of being this tournament’s resident whipping boy by winning the 2012 OFC Nations Cup. If you’ve suddenly lost all your marbles, the 5,000/1 odds tacked on the team sounds pretty appetizing, right?