2017 Confederations Cup Preview and Betting Tips - Group A

Football
Updated Friday 23rd June 2017, 12:05 PM


There may be a year to go until the World Cup gets underway, but the eyes of the footballing world will be on Russia this summer as the 2017 Confederations Cup aims to whet the appetite. With eight teams all vying to be crowned champion of champions, who will be celebrating victory come the 2nd of July? Sports.net takes a look at Group A, as hosts Russia, New Zealand, Portugal and Mexico fight it out for a place in the semi-finals.

Group A

Russia

  • FIFA Ranking: 63
  • Odds to win: 9/1 - Bet365
  • Fixtures: New Zealand (June 17), Portugal (June 21), Mexico (June 24)

Russia will be making their Confederations Cup debut after qualifying for the tournament as host of next year’s World Cup finals. For the current squad, this will be their last taste of competitive football before next season’s global showpiece, meaning each member of Stanislav Cherchesov’s team will be out to impress, especially following a disastrous Euro 2016 campaign that saw the side currently ranked just one place above Haiti in the FIFA rankings crash out in the group stages. Things haven’t got much better for the Russians of late, with defeat to Costa Rica and an embarrassing friendly loss to Qatar just some of the dire results picked up by arguably one of the poorest teams in the nation’s history. Even with Zenit Saint Petersburg striker Artem Dzyuba leading the line, don’t expect the hosts to perform miracles this summer as an early exit looks likely. Verdict: Group Stage Exit.

New Zealand

  • FIFA Ranking: 95
  • Odds to win: 500/1 - Bet365
  • Fixtures: Russia (June 17), Mexico (June 21), Portugal (June 24)

Arguably the weakest team to be taking part this summer, New Zealand will be making their fourth Confederations Cup appearance, but their record does not make for pleasant reading. The All Whites failed to register a single point in 1999 and 2003 as they crashed out in the group stages. They met a similar fate in 2009, but did at least manage to muster a goalless draw with Iraq. The OFC Nations Cup champions will be hoping that 22-year-old Bill Tuiloma can perform to his full potential, with the Marseille defensive midfielder one of the few stars in what is otherwise a much weaker squad compared to the one that impressed at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Manager Anthony Hudson will be praying his team can avoid humiliation and maybe pick up something in their opening match with hosts Russia, but ultimately things could get messy, especially with Portugal and Mexico completing Group A. Verdict: Group Stage Exit.

Portugal

  • FIFA Ranking: 8
  • Odds to win: 5/2 - William Hill
  • Fixtures: Mexico (June 18), Russia (June 21), New Zealand (June 24)

Despite only winning one of their games in 90 minutes last summer, Portugal walked away from Euro 2016 with the European Championship trophy as they broke French hearts in the final in Paris. It was a victory that very few people predicted, but for Cristiano Ronaldo it was the crowning glory in what has been a remarkable career. Now, the 32-year-old will be aiming to carry his team to their second international title, stating it is his dream to lift the Confederations Cup aloft. This is a vision shared by A Seleccao coach Fernando Santos, who is “determined” to deliver the title to the Iberian nation. Since picking up their first international honour, Portugal have enjoyed success in World Cup qualifying, though, defeats to Switzerland and Sweden did come as something of a shock. There could be further joy this July, with comfortable wins expected over Russia and New Zealand before a potential meeting with the weaker of the two qualifiers from Group B. Verdict: Final.

Mexico

  • FIFA Ranking: 17
  • Odds to win: 10/1 - Sky Bet
  • Fixtures: Portugal (June 18), New Zealand (June 21), Russia (June 24)

Mexico enter this year's competition as the most experienced team, having appeared in six previous Confederations Cup tournaments, and as the only nation to have previously lifted the trophy (1999). The  2015 Gold Cup winners will be quietly confident of performing well again this summer, particularly in what could be considered to be the weaker of the two groups. Bayer Leverkusen’s Javier Hernandez could be one to watch, with the 29-year-old no doubt relishing taking on the shaky backlines of New Zealand and Russia, while Portugal are also prone to the odd mistake at times. Marco Fabian could be another player to keep an eye on, especially after the midfielder performed so well in a stand out season for his club side, Eintracht Frankfurt, while Miguel Layun and Hector Herrera have also been capturing the attention of scouts across Europe this term. A positive result against group favourites Portugal would provide El Tri with a boost in morale, but a game against Germany or Chile in the semis could prove a step too far. Verdict: Semi-Finals.

 

*Please note, odds may fluctuate.


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Last Updated: Friday, 23 June 2017 12:05:05+00:00
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