The 2013 International Champions Cup will be the first incarnation of the event, replacing the World Football Challenge with a more stable format ahead of the 2014 World Cup.
Instead of drawing from the international team pool, the International Champions Cup will feature club-level teams from several of the world’s top football leagues, including La Liga and the English Premier League.
The field for the first ICC will consist of eight teams playing in an elimination bracket with two consecutive wins needed to secure a berth in the finals. Unlike many events, the ICC won’t be a double-elimination format, instead giving losing teams the opportunity to continue playing to the end of the tournament for all eight finishing places.
Every team in the tournament has a rich history to its name, and regardless of the outcome, the International Champions Cup promises to be one of the most exciting international events of the year.
Let’s take a look at the draw and schedule for the tournament, highlighting a couple teams to keep an eye on when the event begins on July 27.
Round 1 Draw and Schedule
|July 27||2 p.m. ET||Milan vs. Valencia C.F.||Valencia, Spain|
|July 31||11 p.m. ET||Juventus vs. Everton||San Francisco, California|
|August 1||8 p.m. ET||Chelsea vs. Inter||Indianapolis, Indiana|
|August 1||9:30 p.m. ET||Real Madrid vs. Los Angeles Galaxy||Phoenix, Arizona|
Round 2 Schedule
|August 3||8 p.m. ET||Match 2 loser vs. Match 4 loser||Los Angeles California|
|August 3||10:30 p.m. ET||Match 2 winner vs. Match 4 winner||Los Angeles California|
|August 4||4 p.m. ET||Match 1 loser vs. Match 3 loser||New York City|
|August 4||6:30 p.m. ET||Match 1 winner vs. Match 3 winner||New York City|
Championship Round Schedule
|August 6||6:30 p.m. ET||7th Place Game||Miami Gardens, Florida|
|August 6||9 p.m. ET||5th Place Game||Miami Gardens, Florida|
|August 7||6:30 p.m. ET||3rd Place Game||Miami Gardens, Florida|
|August 7||9 p.m. ET||Championship Game||Miami Gardens, Florida|
Draw and tournament information can also be found at InternationalChampionsCup.com.
Real Madrid aren’t likely to feature heavy doses of their stars in the International Champions Cup, but fans can expect to see at least a little of one of the top footballers in the world.
Crisitano Ronaldo will make his way to American soil in the closing match of the first round as Los Blancos take on MLS giants the Los Angeles Galaxy. If for no other reason, fans should tune in to see how Ronaldo looks ahead of the La Liga slate.
But perhaps even more intriguing is the bevy of young talent Real Madrid boasts, most of which won’t see much action in league play this year. While organizers would certainly like to see each team field its best players in the ICC, this will be a terrific opportunity for Los Blancos to get a closer look at their up-and-coming talent against top competition.
That said, look for Real Madrid to use new additions Isco and Asier Illarramendi on a consistent basis in the tournament in an attempt to get a feel for where each player is at with league play approaching.
Which team are you most excited to watch in the 2013 International Champions Cup?
Jose Mourinho’s arrival signals a new era for Chelsea football. With some bright young talent and Premier League championship aspirations, all eyes will be on the likes of Juan Mata, Fernando Torres and Eden Hazard.
It remains to be seen how much Mourinho will feature that trio, but he’ll likely use this tournament as an opportunity to get a better understanding of how to use his top players. The new Stamford Bridge boss has made it no secret that he wants to see much bigger results next EPL term.
Still, bigger results mean nothing short of a Premier League title. Despite some noticeable turmoil stemming from Rafael Benitez’s time at the helm, the Blues notched a third-place finish last season and look ahead to an even more prosperous stint under Mourinho.
Every team in the ICC will be a team to watch, but Chelsea fans especially will have something to look forward to from one of the most successful clubs in the world.