*If you’re one of the people wondering what the Confed Cup is then you need to take a look at yesterday’s article right here.
One from each team; players that are going to make your eyes bulge and your trousers blink in amazement…
Although a commentator shouting his name has about as much gusto as cold rice pudding, Fred is a talented forward. Forget your wishy-washy Neymars and Oscars (though the latter was very impressive for Chelsea), Fred is a genuine poaching talent with a knack of scoring from almost any chance.
His only problem comes when you take him out of Brazil, as his time in Lyon shows, but that won’t be a problem at the Confed Cup.
Honourable Mention: David Luiz – Central Defender
Sideshow Bob isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but he fits the bill of a Brazillian CB perfectly: spending most of his time in midfield and liable to get a goal. Immense when thinks first, and makes a fantastic hair partnership with Dante at the back.
How could it be anyone else? While Balotelli and El Shaarawy go through mood swings, Pirlo remains a constant. Making the women swoon with his looks and the men swoon with his play, l’architetto is a delight to watch. Capable of getting out of trouble with flair or intelligence he very rarely puts a foot wrong. Can hit a mean set piece too.
Honourable Mention: Daniele De Rossi – Midfielder/Sweeper
Another solid mainstay of the Italian side, De Rossi provides the bread under Pirlo’s butter with hard tackling and a tactical reading of the game that only an Italian could posses.
A criminally under-rated player that has avoided the serious European leagues for too long, Honda is to Japan what Gerrard is to Liverpool (and sometimes England). A driving force from midfield capable of switching from lying deep creating chances to playing as a second striker in seconds.
He’s a capable dribbler and has a great technical ability from free kicks, both in terms of crossing and shooting. He can provide the spark that Japan often need.
Honourable Mention: Yuto Nagatomo – Wing-back
While there are no Inter players in Italy’s team there is one in Japan’s. Nagatomo is a flying fall back who can also ignite the game if Japan’s passing game stagnates.
Those who haven’t followed dos Santos’ career since he disappeared from English soil without a whimper will wonder what all the fuss is about, but he went on to have a good season for a bad team in Mallorca, and put him in an El Tricolor shirt and he’s a much better player than the Prem remembers.
He’s a delicate speedy player with quick feet who has a delicate a precise finish when he wants to. Can combine quickly with Chicharito to dangerous effect.
Honourable Mention: Andres Guardado – Winger
Guardado is mainly about the assists, and with Hernandez up front, the supply line is vitally important. He relies more on space than pace in his position, has a good cross, and a very tidy volley given the opportunity.
Nigeria are unfortunate to be without Victor Moses for the tournament, and with John Obi Mikel stepping up with a goal once every three blue moons, players more unknown to the European fans are going to have to step up.
Mba is a midfielder who stepped up in the African Cup of Nations; scoring in the quarter-final before bagging a stunning Le Tissier-esque goal to win the final. Who knows, if he can grab some more big goals in the Confed Cup, some big teams might come looking…
Honourable Mention: Ahmed Musa – Winger/Forward
A still uncultured 20 year old who relies on lightning pace to more forward from either out wide or up front, Musa’s speed could always cause something to happen. Nigeria will be hoping he can find his finishing too.
Whoever I wrote would seem an obvious choice as Spain’s team is full of world-class players so I went with one of the most enjoyable of them all. Xavi dominates the midfield like an adult in a U-10’s game. Head on a swivel and capable of beating two players if there aren’t options. He is a true god of possessional midfield.
Despite his relaxed demeanour and cool attitude, he is a winner. And he’s won everything… bar the Confed Cup. As ever, he will be the beating heart behind Spain’s game as he looks to complete his, and Spain’s, trophy cabinet.
Honourable Mention: The Rest of Them – Everywhere
Spain’s team hasn’t weakened at all since their previous tournament wins, and despite still not having the striker problem tied down, they do have a variety of options and all the possession in the world to try them out. As hard to beat as ever.
I’m not going to lie to you, I know an incredibly small amount about the tiny South Pacific Island. But I do know they’re going to struggle and will probably be crippled in their second game against Spain. However, everyone will be cheering them on to at least score a goal – and that responsibility will fall on Tahiti’s only real professional player, Vahirua.
Vahirua is contracted in France for Nancy as a striker and even recorded six caps for the French U-21 team. The 138th ranked team will be playing a defensive style of football (as if they’ll get a choice against Spain) looking to frustrate the opposition and take their minimal chances. But anything can happen in football and finger’s crossed they come away proud.
Honourable Mention: Nicolas Vallar – Central Defender
The Tahiti captain once played for Montpellier B and will need to draw on all his experience to keep his defence tight and spirits high.
The four Diegos (Lugano, Godin, Perez, and Forlan) form the spine of La Celeste’s team – with the seemingly immortal Forlan the most important. Like many veteran international players he has a locker full of abilities: passing range, vision, energy, shooting, set pieces, and a driving, inspiring attitude.
Joining Forlan up front will be Liverpool’s in demand Suarez and Napoli’s in demand Cavani, and when the three combine they can be lethal. Forlan often plays the provider for the other two but the real magic for Uruguay happens when he gets in on the action himself. Uruguay will be looking for a breather from a tough WC qualifying and Forlan will have one eye on the trophy.
Honourable Mention: Diego Godin – Central Defender
Godin has spent most of his Uruguayan career in the shadow of fellow centre-back Lugano but has started to shine more since his move to Athletico Madrid. Equally dedicated and strong in the air as Lugano but with a bit more pace, Godin will be important to the Sky Blues.
Bring on the tournament!