Brazil to lift Confederations Cup? - Betting Preview
Formed in 1997 out of the ashes of the King Fahd Cup, the FIFA Confederations Cup is contested by the winners of the biggest international FIFA championships in each territory: UEFA, CONMEBOL, CONCACAF, CAF, AFC and OFC, with the host nation gaining automatic entry.
In layman's terms, that means the last World Cup winner, European Championship victor, Copa America winner, African Cup of Nations holder, Gold Cup winner (Mexico and USA dominate), Asian Cup winner and OFC Nations Cup winner (New Zealand, Tahiti etc).
Originally held every two years, in 2005 the tournament effectively became a warm-up event for whichever nation was due to hold the next World Cup, and then held every four years. Notably, perhaps for future betting purposes, no Confederations Cup winner has ever gone on to win the resulting World Cup.
All in all, Brazil hold the record for Confederations Cup wins with three - 1997, 2005 and 2009. France have twice lifted the trophy (2001 and 2003), while Mexico, host nation is 1999, prevailed on home soil.
The 2013 version is being held in Brazil, with the same country due to hold the 2014 World Cup. Of course, Scolari and his squad are under big pressure to win both tournaments, but Brazil as a country must also prove that they are able hosts in terms of organisation and travel facilities.
Now for the teams and groups - it's a round robin format with the top two from each going through the semi-finals. All prices quoted are correct at the time of going to press, with the odds offered after each nation's name to win the tournament.
Coached by 2002 World Cup winner 'Big Phil' Scolari, Brazil had endured troubled times in recent years, unable to beat a top five ranked team for some time.
In my viewing these last two years or so, Brazil do not function well as a collective offensive unit - reliant on individual talent like Neymar and Hulk to win them games.
However, since the second coming of former Chelsea manager Scolari, the Selecao have looked more cohesive when drawing 2-2 with England and, notably, putting France to the sword in a 3-0 victory.
Destroyed 4-0 by Brazil - who they'll meet in the first game - last time they played each other, 2011 Asian Cup winners Japan have improved since then and should present Brazil with a sterner test this time.
Gold Cup winners in 2011, Mexico look like a decent bet to qualify from their group at 13/8, particularly when we consider that they've often defeated Brazil in recent years.
Mexico, I believe, are also a decent long-shot at 11/1 shot to win the tourney, but maybe best wagered each way.
Qualified as European Championship finalists in 2012 as winners Spain - already World Cup winners at this point - didn't need the slot gained from victory.
All in all, Italy have the pedigree and players to win this tournament, but haven't impressed in recent games, particularly when throwing away a two goal lead away to draw 2-2 with Haiti.
Reigning World Cup and European Championship winners, I'm sure you've all seen plenty of their matches and are familiar with most of their players. Spain are, undoubtedly, the best team in world football, but are not shock proof - as evidenced in their Confederations Cup semi-final defeat to USA in 2009.
Nobody would be surprised if Spain were to win their maiden Confederations Cup in 2013, but Brazil - as host nations under pressure - are perhaps as likely a winner and both are similar in price.
Copa America winners in 2011, Uruguay -powered by a trio of well know forwards in Cavani, Suarez and Forlan - had struggled since their victory in Argentina, but are now back in- form and extremely likely to qualify from their group (4/9).
OFC Nations Cup winners who are expected to be the whipping boys of the tourney. Of course, there have been plenty of shocks in Confederations Cup history, but if Tahiti wins a game it'll be one of them.
African Cup of Nations winners, the Super Eagles are set to field an experimental side and have travelled late to Brazil after disputes over bonus payments. Given this, a lack of focus and team cohesiveness seem likely, particularly in their first group game.
My betting conclusion:
Brazil to win the 2013 Confederations Cup given home advantage and their resulting need to win, but Mexico and Uruguay are worth an e/w punt as outsiders.
The Tournament Top Scorer seems likely to come from group B given Tahiti's presence, but while Spain's Soldado looks like a decent 16/1 shot under such circumstances, most of La Roja's opponents sit back and defend in numbers and we don't know who will start up front for the reigning World and European champions.
Instead, 8/1 priced Suarez (top scorer in the last Copa America) looks like the best bet on paper, or perhaps even Brazil's talented Neymar (also 8/1). However, I've chanced my money on Fred - a Scolari favourite and productive target man for Brazil. Fred is currently priced at 12/1.
Anyway, good luck with your bets and don't forget that we offer a wide range of in-play markets at the Home of Betting - click here for all of our pre-match Confederations Cup betting.