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What is the FIFA Confederations Cup?

Chris Punnakkattu Daniel - FIFA Confederations Cup

Chris Punnakkattu Daniel - FIFA Confederations Cup

The FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 will kick-off today when hosts Brazil take on Japan in the opening match at the Estádio Nacional de Brasília.

Many football fans in India have little knowledge about the tournament and many of them have been asking me various questions about the so-called “Mini World Cup”.

I would like to answer some of the important questions and help you to understand one of the major FIFA tournaments.

What is the FIFA Confederations Cup?

The FIFA Confederations Cup is a tournament for senior national teams organised by football’s world-governing body FIFA. The tournament is contested by the six winners of the continental championships (e.g. UEFA EURO, AFC Asian Cup, etc.) associated to FIFA, the reigning FIFA World Cup champion and the host nation.

The continental confederations are:
• AFC (Asia)
• CAF (Africa)
• CONCACAF (North & Central American and the Caribbean)
• CONMEBOL (South America)
• OFC (Oceania)
• UEFA (Europe)

When does the tournament take place?

The FIFA Confederations Cup is played one year ahead of the FIFA World Cup in the same country, which will host the FIFA World Cup.

Brazil will be the hosts of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and therefore the South American nation would also host the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. The FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 will be played from June 15 to 30.

What is the main purpose of the FIFA Confederations Cup?

The FIFA Confederations Cup is the rehearsal for the FIFA World Cup host. The host nation has the opportunity to test its infrastructure, organisation and all other criteria of hosting an international tournament ahead of the major competition in a year’s time.

How does a national team qualify for the FIFA Confederations Cup?

A national team will qualify for the FIFA Confederations Cup, if they are the reigning champions of one of the six continental championships. The reigning FIFA World Cup champions and the tournament hosts complete the line-up of the participating teams.

The six continental championships are:
• AFC Asian Cup (Asia)
• CAF Africa Cup of Nations (Africa)
• CONCACAF Gold Cup (North & Central American and the Caribbean)
• Copa América (South America)
• OFC Nations Cup (Oceania)
• UEFA EURO (Europe)

What happens, if one of the teams meet more than one of the qualification criteria?

It might happen that a national team is the reigning champion of the FIFA World Cup and one of the continental championships at the same time. France were the reigning FIFA World Cup and UEFA EURO champions in 2001 and Spain are the holders of the same titles this year.

In that case another team is invited to participate in the FIFA Confederations Cup and to fill-up the free starting grid. The invitation is normally made to the runner-up of the continental championship, which was won by the team meeting more than one of the qualification criteria.

Who created the tournament?

The tournament was originally created by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The tournament was called the King Fahd Cup, when it kicked-off in 1992. Saudi Arabia hosted the tournament in 1992 and 1995, before FIFA took over the organization of the tournament in 1997 and renamed it FIFA Confederations Cup. The tournament was held biennial from 1997 to 2003.

Which teams have qualified for the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013?

Following eight teams will participate in the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013:
• Brazil – Hosts
• Italy – UEFA EURO 2012 Runner-Up
• Japan – AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2011 Champions
• Mexico – CONCACAF Gold Cup 2011 Champions
• Nigeria – CAF Africa Cup of Nations South Africa 2013 Champions
• Spain – FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 Champions
• Tahiti – 2012 OFC Nations Cup Champions
• Uruguay – Copa América Argentina 2011

Which cities and stadium will be the venues for the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013?

Following six venues have been selected to host the matches:
• Estádio Castelão in Fortaleza | Capacity: 64,846
• Estádio do Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro | Capacity: 78,639
• Estádio Mineirão in Belo Horizonte | Capacity: 62,547
• Estádio Nacional de Brasília in Brasília | Capacity: 70,064
• Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador | Capacity: 55,000
• Itaipava Arena Pernambuco in Recife | Capacity: 44,248

How does the tournament format look like for the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013?

The eight teams have been divided into two groups of four teams each. The group winners and the runners-up advance to the semifinals.

Which teams have won the FIFA Confederations Cup so far?

Following teams have won the FIFA Confederations Cup and its predecessor, the King Fahd Cup:
• Brazil (1997, 2005, 2009)
• France (2001, 2003)
• Argentina (1992)
• Mexico (1999)
• Denmark (1995)

Who are the all-time top goal scorers of the FIFA Confederations Cup?

The top three goal scorers of the FIFA Confederations Cup are:

#1 – 9 goals
Cuauhtémoc Blanco (Mexico)
Ronaldinho (Brazil)

#2 – 7 goals
Adriano (Brazil)
Romário (Brazil)

#3 – 6 goals
Marzouk Al-Otaibi (Saudi Arabia)