FIFA To Scrap Confederations Cup

(file copy) FIFA’s President, Gianni Infantino                                                      JUAN MABROMATA / AFP

 

FIFA has laid out plans to replace the Confederations Cup with an expanded Club World Cup that would only be held every four years from 2021, a source told AFP on Wednesday.

According to a letter Gianni Infantino, the president of world football’s governing body, sent to the heads of the continental confederations, and that has been seen by AFP, the Confederations Cup would cease while the club tournament would no longer be played annually in December.

It would now be held every fourth June in the year before a World Cup — just as the Confederations Cup was.

Last year’s Confederations Cup in Russia — won by Germany — would, therefore, be the last.

The competition would last 18 days. The new format means the club competition would interfere less with the rest of the football calendar, particularly in Europe.

FIFA also faces the problem that while its principal tournament, the World Cup, is immensely lucrative and popular, neither the Confederations Cup nor the Club World Cup have been remotely as attractive to fans or sponsors.

Clubs from the six confederations take part in the Club World Cup, but the gulf in quality can be embarrassingly large and only sides from Europe or South America have ever won it.

Although Brazilian sides claimed the first three editions, only one of the last 11 has not been won by a European team — inaugural winners in 2000, Corinthians triumphed for the second time in 2012.

In the United Arab Emirates in December, Real Madrid became the first club to retain the trophy when they beat Brazilians Gremio 1-0 with a goal by Cristiano Ronaldo.

The changes dovetail with FIFA’s desire to build on plans already unveiled by UEFA, the European federation, and CONCACAF, which runs football in North and Central America and the Caribbean, for a Nations League to replace friendlies in the international calendar.

The inaugural UEFA Nations League will begin in September of this year, with the top four teams going through to the finals in June 2019.

The international governing body wants all the continents to set up similar competitions, using divisional formats, to be played in September, October and December of even-numbered years and culminating in an eight-team international tournament the following year.

In order to finance its Nations League and the revamped Club World Cup, FIFA would look to team up with a consortium of private investors ready to invest some 25 billion dollars in the rights for the period from 2021 to 2033.

AFP

German Team Returns Home After Winning Confederations Cup

The German national team returned from St. Petersburg on Monday after winning the Confederations Cup on Sunday evening.

The young team beat Chile 1-0 in the final, securing the trophy only two days after Germany beat Spain 1-0 to win the European under-21 championship.

Read Also: Germany Beat Chile To Win First Confederations Cup Title

Germany coach Joachim Loew left behind players such as goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos and Thomas Mueller yet his side still managed to beat the Asian, African, CONCACAF and South American champions on their way to lifting the title.

His team on Sunday had an average age of just over 24, compared to over 30 for Chile. Julian Draxler, who captained the side aged 23, was their most experienced player with 35 caps.

German Fans Celebrate Confederations Cup Victory

FA Cup Broadcast RightsGerman fans were ecstatic after ‘Die Mannschaft’ survived a whirlwind assault by Chile and capitalised on an awful mistake by the South Americans to claim a 1-0 victory in a pulsating, bad-tempered Confederations Cup final on Sunday.

Germany won the title for the first time after Lars Stindl scored the only goal in the 20th minute when Chile midfielder Marcelo Diaz gave the ball away on the edge of his own area.

Chile, playing with their trademark high-octane style and driven forward by another relentless display by Arturo Vidal, dominated the match but were let down by poor finishing.

A dramatic game featured missed chances, defensive howlers, scuffles and two video reviews, one producing a highly controversial outcome in the second half.

It was a remarkable achievement for Germany to lift the trophy with a young, experimental squad, although it could also be a bad omen as no team has ever won the World Cup after winning the Confederations Cup the year before.

Reuters

Germany Beat Chile To Win First Confederations Cup Title

Germany Beat Chile To Glory In Confederations Cup FinalWorld champions Germany once again proved their worth on Sunday evening when they beat Chile at the Confederations Cup final in Russia.

The Germans outshone their Chileans opponents in a much-anticipated final match courtesy of an early winning goal from Lars Stindl in the 20th minute.

Although Chile dominated much of the first half, Germany took the lead when a defensive error gave Stindl a simple tap-in.

Despite some close calls in the second half, Joachim Loew’s side held on to claim their first-ever FIFA Confederations Cup title.

Earlier before the match, European champions Portugal edged Mexico with a 2-1 extra-time third place win after Pepe scored in injury time to deny the Mexicans victory.

Both teams ended the match with 10 men.

Portugal were without Cristiano Ronaldo who left the tournament after his country’s semi-final defeat to Chile on penalties to meet his newborn twins.

Nika the polar bear had predicted that Germany would win the Confederations Cup final after extra time.

Portugal Win Third Place At FIFA Confederations Cup

Portugal Win Third Place At FIFA Confederations CupPortugal on Sunday beat Mexico to win the third place at the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.

The European champions edged their opponents with a 2-1 extra-time win after Pepe scored in injury time to deny the Mexicans victory.

Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa saved Andre Silva’s penalty early on but trailed to Luis Neto’s own goal in the 54th minute.

Efforts from Pepe in the first minute of added time and Silva’s penalty on 104 minutes, however, turned the match in Portugal’s favour.

Both teams ended the match with 10 men with Nelson Semedo of Portugal sent off on 106 minutes while Mexico’s Raul Jimenez got a red card six minutes later for a second booking.

Portugal were without Cristiano Ronaldo who left the tournament after his country’s semi-final defeat to Chile on penalties to meet his newborn twins.

Soccer Fans Flock To St Petersburg Ahead Of Confed Cup Final

Soccer fans from around the world flocked to St Petersburg on Sunday to watch the final of the Confederations Cup between Germany and Chile.

Asked about their experience in Russia, many said they were surprised by the hospitality. Some advised others to come to Russia in 2018 for the World Cup.

The Confederations Cup is held in four Russian cities as a test for the venues and organisers ahead of next year’s event.

Polar Bear Predicts Germany Will Win Confederations Cup

Nika the polar bear has predicted that Germany will win the Confederations Cup final against Chile after extra time.

The bear prediction put her reputation on the line at Moscow Zoo recently with a two-stage prediction.

She was inconclusive with the feeding bowls marked in national flags indicating a draw after regular time.

Her prediction moved on to extra time and the more precise balls-in-the-pool system.

She pursued and grasped Germany’s ball in her jaws in the plunge pool before triumphantly climbing out of the water to proclaim the result.

Nika, a rescue polar bear who came to the zoo from Chukotka on the far eastern coast of Russia, joins the late and lamented Paul the Octopus in predicting sporting outcomes.

She successfully predicted Germany to beat Cameroon, and Mexico to beat Russia in the late group stages but her keepers draw a veil over her recent prediction of Portugal and Mexico to dispute the tournament final.

German Squad Mood ‘Excellent’ Ahead Of Confederations Cup Final – Loew

Germany will take on Chile in Sunday’s Confederations Cup final feeling like they have already won the tournament after a fine run with a second-string team has yielded several top prospects for next year’s World Cup defence.

The team’s coach Joachim Loew told a news conference on Saturday the mood of the players was excellent.

He also said changes in the squad could be expected for the final but declined to get into the details.

Meanwhile, midfielder Julian Draxler said he was expecting a very different game from the 1-1 draw the two sides played out in the group stages.

“I believe the match tomorrow will have no resemblance to the group stage match. I think we did not deliver our best match then. We still could do better. We know that Chile are very strong, they have a lot of excellent players. And they are rightly in the final,” Draxler said.

“But a final is always another match, it is different from the matches at the group stage. So I am pretty certain that we will have to show our very best tomorrow if we want to win. But I am not really concerned. I know we are well prepared. And we will act as a team on the pitch and will put everything we have against Chile.”

Goretzka Stars As Germany Hammer Mexico In Confederations Cup Semis

Germany, Italy, Euro 2016Germany’s Leon Goretzka scored two expertly-taken goals in the opening eight minutes to set his side on the way to a 4-1 win over Mexico in their Confederations Cup semi-finals on Thursday.

Timo Werner added the third just before the hour as Germany’s young, experimental team took advantage of the wide open spaces in the Mexico defence and punished them with ruthless finishing.

Mexico’s Marco Fabian pulled a goal back with a spectacular, swerving strike in the 89th minute but Amin Younis hit a fourth for Germany during stoppage time in an end-to-end game.

Mexico had lots of possession but failed to take their chances and always looked vulnerable at the back.

Germany, whose starting team had an average age of just under 24, will meet South American champions Chile in Sunday’s final in St Petersburg.

[Photos] Chile Celebrates Historic Advance To Confederations Cup Final

Chilean soccer fans descended on a local square in Santiago on Wednesday to celebrate their team’s historic advance to the Confederations Cup final, following a nail-biting match with Portugal.

Both sides had drawn 0-0 after regulation and extra time. The penalty shootout saw Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo stop Portugal’s three penalty shots, securing the South American side’s third straight international final are clinching consecutive Copa America titles.

Chile won 3-0 against Portugal off penalties.

Chile will have to wait until Thursday to see who its grand final opponent will be, with Germany and Mexico set to go head-to-head for the next spot in the final.

fan wearing makeshift crown and soccer trophy and waving Chilean flag during celebration
 Man cycling near celebrations with Chilean flags on his bike

 

Chilean fan holding makeshift trophy and three Chilean flags
Construction workers on scaffolding waving Chilean flag

 

 

Chile Seal Confederations Cup Final Spot With Portugal Win

Chile are the first team to qualify for the ongoing Confederations Cup final in Russia after beating European champions Portugal on Wednesday.

Juan Antonio Pizzi’s side progressed to the next round 3-0 on penalties after a tough semi-final match between the South Americans and Fernando Santos’s men ended in a goalless draw.

Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo stopped Portugal’s first three spot kicks from Ricardo Quaresma, Joao Moutinho and Nani.

Chile, however, converted their first three kicks to win the clash of South American and European champions.

The result was justice for Chile after they hit the woodwork with two successive shots in the dying seconds of extra time.

There was also controversy shortly before that when Chile’s Francisco Silva went down in the box under a Jose Fonte tackle but the referee did not consult the Video Assistant Referees (VARs), even though contact seemed to be made.

Russia On Track To Host 2018 World Cup, Say Fans

Soccer fans who have travelled to Russia in support of their national teams at the Confederations Cup said the host country had made a good headstart in its preparations for the 2018 World Cup.

The Confederations Cup has given Russia a chance to show off its preparations for next year’s World Cup and allay concerns over stadium security and infrastructure.

Read Also: Mexico Knock Confederations Cup Hosts Russia Out

The two-week tournament is largely seen as a stress test to assess the readiness of four of Russia’s World Cup venues and its ability to handle fans from overseas.

Fans enjoying the games in three of the Russian cities told Reuters the main issue they faced as visitors was the language barrier with locals. But the work of volunteers and the hospitality of Russian people was high on the commendation list for fans.

Other remarks included the absence of direct flights between hosting cities and a lack of sufficient accommodation in some areas.

Russia is set to host the 2018 World Cup in 12 stadiums spread across 11 cities, including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan and Sochi.