The 2014 World Cup will take place next summer in Brazil, but for now, Brazil is hosting the 2013 Confederations Cup. National teams who have won their respective FIFA confederation championships will all meet in Brazil from June 15 through June 30 as a World Cup warm-up.
Some of the teams in the Confederations Cup have been consistent powerhouses and are already favorites for the 2014 World Cup. Other teams are younger and on the rise and will be looking to make their mark on international play starting this summer in Brazil. Here is a look at some teams that are under the radar but can still shake things up in the 2013 Confederations Cup.
Mexico has been flirting with some breakout years for a while now. The Mexican national team has enough talent to become a top-tier international team, but they haven’t quite played to their potential just yet.
After winning the gold medal at the 2012 Olympics in London, Mexico has very high hopes for this young team. Mexico has not met expectations thus far at the World Cup qualifiers but has an opportunity to impress as an underdog at the Confederations Cup.
The team competing in the Confederations Cup will be a combination of young guns from the Olympic team, such as centre-back Diego Reyes, and returning stars, like Manchester United center Chicharito.
Mexico is in a tough group with Japan, Italy and the host country Brazil. Mexico has a tough road ahead, but they have the talent to compete and surprise people this summer. If they can earn a draw against Brazil and defeat Japan and Italy, which they are certainly capable of doing, they can move on to the next round.
The Uruguay national team has been a force to be reckoned with in recent international competitions, but lately, the team has been fading. The team has enough talent to have an impact this summer, led by Luis Suarez and Diego Forlan. However, these guys aren’t getting any younger, and it seems they are on the decline.
Uruguay may not be what it was at the 2010 World Cup, but the team still can make some noise during international play. In the Confederations Cup, Uruguay will face Tahiti, Nigeria and Spain in group play. Uruguay can earn a draw against Spain and defeat the other two teams to move on to the next round.
This team’s window may be closing, but it hasn’t closed just yet. Look for Uruguay to make a run during the Confederations Cup and to keep the momentum going into next year’s World Cup.
The Japanese team has not made a significant run in recent international play, but that could change starting this summer. Japan was the first country to qualify for the 2014 World Cup a couple of weeks ago, and they will look to keep the momentum going in the Confederations Cup.
Japan has some quality players in Shinji Kagawa and Honda, both of whom have the experience to lead this team in international play. They may struggle at times in a tough group that features Mexico, Brazil and Italy. The Confederations Cup will help determine how competitive Japan can be against the world’s best.
Japan has already lost to Brazil in a tough opening match, but if they can upset Mexico and Italy, they still have a chance to move on in the Confederations Cup. It won’t be easy, but Japan has the ability to turn some heads this summer in anticipation for next year’s World Cup.