It’s easy to be cynical about the Confederations Cup.
The quadrennial competition, held in the year before the World Cup finals, often takes on the appearance of a FIFA money-grab, and beyond that it mostly serves as a trial run for the big tournament—a test of transit routes, ticketing strategies, stadium readiness and general infrastructure.
The average fan won’t be all that concerned about these matters.
But the fact is the football on the pitch is typically quite entertaining, and over the years the Confederations Cup has produced more than a few memorable moments.
Australia beat Uruguay on a Harry Kewell golden goal in the 1997 semifinal, only to be trounced 6-0 in the final in Riyadh. Both Ronaldo and Romario bagged hat-tricks in that encounter.
Then, just four years ago, goals in either half from Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey put the United States en route to a historic win over European champions, Spain, at Bloemfontein. The U.S. even took a 2-0 lead in the final before a Luis Fabiano-inspired come-back took Brazil to the championship.
In other words, the two weeks of football between June 15 and June 30 will be entertaining stuff, and over the course of the schedule the various national team managers will be answering some squad questions that could end up impacting their fate just over a year from now.
Following are 10 of those questions, many of which involve two of the tournament favourites: World Cup holders Spain and hosts Brazil.