Wednesday, 19 June 2013

2013 Confederations Cup - the tournament so far:

Just under a year until the 2014 World Cup begins, football fans all around the world have a special treat with a warm-up International tournament that only happens once every four years involved 8 International teams from all around the world. 

Here are the 8 teams involved in the tournament, along with the groups and results from matches that have taken place already.

Group A: 

Brazil - hosts
Japan - 2011 AFC Asian Cup winners
Mexico - 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup winners
Italy - Runners-up at Euro 2012

Group B:

Spain - FIFA World Cup and Euro 2012 winners
Uruguay - 2011 Copa America winners
Nigeria - 2013 African Cup of Nations winners
Tahiti - 2012 OFC Nations winners

June 15:
Brazil 3 Japan 0
This was the opening match in the tournament in Brazil, with the hosts playing against one of the underdogs in the tournament on Saturday afternoon. 
Things started brightly for Brazil, thanks to a wonder strike by new Barcelona forward Neymar who struck a powerful volley from 20 yards out which flew past the goalkeeper into the net in the 3rd minute. 

Barca boy: New Barcelona forward Neymar celebrates his wonder-strike against Japan (below)

Unstoppable: The camera angle behind the goal where Neymar broke the deadlock with a stinging volley.

Midfielder Paulinho doubled the lead just after half-time in the 48th minute after some patient build-up play outside the box found him in space to shoot, with his strike bouncing off the goalkeeper's hands and falling straight into the net.  

Perfect placement: Midfielder Paulinho uses placement over power to double Brazil's lead over Japan.

Samba stars: Paulinho celebrates making it 2-0 to Brazil in the first group game of the tournament.

The icing was put on the Brazil cake in the 3rd minute of stoppage time, with a dangerous counter attack finding Chelsea's playmaker Oscar running into space in the middle of the pitch. He used vision and awareness to pick out a pass to former Manchester City striker Jo, who cooly slotted the ball past the goalkeeper into the net for his first ever goal in a Brazil shirt.  

Turning on the style: Jo slots the ball past the goalkeeper to put the icing on the Brazil cake and make it 3-0.

Familiar face? Former Manchester City striker Jo celebrates his first goal for Brazil to complete a comfortable evening for the hosts

June 16:
Mexico 1 Italy 2
This was the evening kick-off on Day 2 of the Confederations Cup, with runners-up from Euro 2012 Italy playing against underdogs Mexico.

Midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo broke the deadlock in the 27th minute from a superbly-struck free-kick 25-yards out to give Italy the lead, but Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez equalised from the penalty spot 7 minutes later, sending Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon the wrong way to level the scoring.  

Fantastic free-kick: Pirlo swerves the ball over the wall and into the net in an instant to give Italy the lead.
Midfield maestro: Pirlo celebrates his strike on his 100th cap for Italy.
Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez equalises for Mexico in the 34th minute to make it 1-1 at half-time

Italy did not deserve to be level at half-time, despite having dominated the possession, goal-scoring chances and passing but just could not take their opportunities in-front of goal.

In the second half, they continued to press for the winner, until 12 minutes from time AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli put Italy in-front with a powerful finish from inside the box after showing strength and agility to get past two defenders and move quickly to adjust his position to turn and finish. 

Winning goal: AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli gives Italy a 2-1 lead with minutes to play.

Important: Italy celebrate Balotelli's goal to give them their first three points of the tournament in Group A.

Italy became the second team to have three points in the tournament, with their next opponent being Japan tomorrrow.
Spain 2 Uruguay 1
The late kick-off was between World Cup and European champions Spain, and Copa America winners Uruguay.

Goals from Liga BBVA striking duo Pedro (Barca) and Soldado (Valencia) gave the reigning world champions a comfortable 2-0 lead despite possession and balance of play suggesting they should have been up by more goals to be perfectly honest.

Ahead: Barcelona winger Pedro celebrates his opener against Uruguay..

Doubling the lead: Before Valencia clinical finisher Soldado's strike made it 2-0 to Spain..

Simply the best: Spain celebrate Soldado's goal to make it 2-0 on the night and give them a comfortable lead.

Liverpool's transfer request talisman Luis Suarez scored a swerving free-kick from 25 yards out to give Uruguay hope of getting back into the match, but it ended up only being a consolation goal and Spain won 2-1 in their first match of the tournament. 

De ja vu: Luis Suarez has scored a couple of free-kicks this season, again adding to his collection

You can see why: Suarez's quality on the pitch has sparked interest from Real and PSG among other clubs as his stay in England looks to be coming to an end.

June 17:
Tahiti 1 Nigeria 6
The scoreline is surprisingly nice to Tahiti, believe it or not. 

The OFC Nations winners suffered a 6-1 thrashing at the hands of this year's African Cup of Nations winners Nigeria who clinically finished most of their goal-scoring chances in a one-sided opening group B game. 

Nnamdi Oduamadi scored a hat-trick for Nigeria, 2 goals in his first half before getting his third in the 77th minute. 

Super Eagles: Striker Nnamdi Oduamadi celebrates his first of three goals...

Number two: Oduamadi curled the ball past the goalkeeper for his second of his day against Tahiti

Finishing touch: Oduamadi slots the ball past a beaten keeper for his hat-trick.

Tahiti scored two own goals in the match, while Uwa Echiejile killed the game off in the 80th minute to make it 6-1. 

Shock: Bookmakers had bets that Tahiti would not even score during the whole tournament, but they already have.

Jubilation: Tahiti celebrate their first goal of the tournament like they won it - even though they were losing.

Support: Underdogs Tahiti show their appreciation to their fans after their 6-1 loss to Nigeria.

Today's matches (Wednesday):

From Group A:
Brazil vs Mexico (4pm local time, 7pm UK)
Italy vs Japan (7pm local time, 10pm UK)