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Confederation Cup Round Up
Andy (Rangers) 7 years ago
The Confederation Cup this year has been a huge success with full strength teams turning up we were treated to some fantastic matches and some good old fashion cup upsets. here I present my team of the tournament and some conclusions.

GK - Howard (USA) Tournament rating : 9
Tim HowardIn my eyes, Howard had a slight edge over Julio Cesar when it came to Goalkeeper of the Tournament. He bolstered the defence and made more saves than any other goalkeeper in the competition at 33. He gave the USA a string of impressive performances, crucial to their undoubted success in the Confederations Cup. His goalkeeping awareness was showcased throughout the tournament and the final epitomised his footballing intelligence, regardless of the scoreline.
LB - Masilela (S.Africa) Tournament rating : 7
MasilelaMasilela was essentially the best of a bad bunch when it came to left-backs in the tournament. He played all 5 games for South Africa and had an impressive pass completion rate of 76%. He reflected the industrious nature of the South African squad, covering 50,000 metres during the tournament. He pushed up the field when he was needed as well as fulfilling his defensive duties when called upon.
CB - Onyewu (USA) Tournament rating : 8
OnyewuOnyewu’s central partnership with De Merit produced a number of classy defensive performances for the US. The defender was frightfully determined on the field, making the most clearances of any player in the tournament at 21. This determination was clearly evidenced in an efficient performance against Spain in the semi-finals, this particular game giving him the edge over De Merit in the Tournament XI.
CB - Lucio (Brazil) Tournament Rating : 9
LucioThe Brazilian captain provided an unparalleled leadership ethic, leading Brazil to the Confederations Cup final in style. Scoring the winning goal, Lucio’s contribution to the tournament cannot be underestimated. There is a great deal of responsibility placed on Brazilian centre-backs, as the full backs fly on up the field to spearhead the attack and Lucio dealt with this expertly throughout the tournament.
RB - Maicon (Brazil) Tournament Rating : 7
MaiconThere were no standout fullbacks at the tournament but one of the more effective was Maicon. The Internazionale right back had a solid tournament, a particular highlight being his performance against the USA in the group stages. He provided an assist from a free-kick for Brazil’s second goal and capped a fabulous Brazilian passing move with a glorious finish for their third.
CM - Dempsey (USA) Tournament Rating : 8
DempseyIn the latter stages of the tournament, the US team employed Brazilian-style counter-attack football, and Dempsey was at the centre of every move. His pace allowed him to orchestrate the devastating counter-attacks that lead to a number of US goals. As well as providing, Dempsey had a keen eye for goal during the tournament, bagging 3 goals for his side. He was a dynamo for the US squad and fulfilled a Kaka-type role in moving the ball out of defence and into attack.
CM - Kaka (Brazil) Tournament Rating : 10
KakaKaka entered the tournament on high expectations following his summer blockbuster transfer to Real Madrid. These expectations were not only met but exceeded by the Brazilian playmaker. He lead the Brazilian counter-attack and made the most successful solo runs of any player in the tournament. His blinding pace was complimented by impeccable finishing, clearly shown in his mesmerising goal against Egypt. He was the star player of the tournament for me.
CM - Aboutrika (Egypt) Tournament Rating : 8
AboutrikaAboutrika entered the tournament largely unknown, playing his club football for Al-Ahly in Egypt. Aboutrika had a very impressive tournament, always eager to get the ball and make things happen. He attempted the most passes out of any player for Egypt and ensured his presence was felt in the Egyptian midfield.
FW - Rossi (Italy) Tournament Rating : 8
RossiGiuseppe Rossi was among the few players who stood out for an exceedingly lacklustre Italian side in the Confederations Cup. He was a constant threat on the ball and was never afraid to shoot from long range. He scored two fantastic goals after coming on as a sub against the USA and clearly showed that he has what it takes to be a world-class striker in the upcoming years.
FW - Fabiano (Brazil) Tournament Rating : 9
FabianoLuis Fabiano showed glimpses of brilliance during the tournament and thoroughly deserved the golden boot award. He scored 5 goals in 5 games for Brazil, the most spectacular coming against the USA in the final. Fabiano currently has a better goal per game ratio than “Phenomenon” Ronaldo. If Brazil are to make it far in next years World Cup, both Kaka and Fabiano will be integral to any plans.
FW - Donovan (USA) Tournament Rating : 8
DonovanDonovan was one of the players to really make a difference at the tournament. He worked hard throughout the tournament, covering the second largest distance of any player and scoring 2 goals in the process. He showed great composure and an impressive first touch, as seen in his goal against Brazil in the final. He already holds legendary status within US football and this tournament has done a great deal in further cementing his legacy.
Manager - Bob Bradley (USA)
Bob BradleyBradley has come under intense scrutiny following a number of poor results in the World Cup qualifiers but this tournament thoroughly proved his managerial credentials. He was tactically in-tune against the worlds top two clubs, achieving a phenomenal feat. The US came agonisingly close to causing the biggest tournament upset in history, and Bob Bradley deserves a lot of the credit.

Confederations Cup Dilemmas and Conclusions.

1. South African football horns - A noisy nuisance or an irremovable cultural icon?
These football horns have been causing a great deal of controversy and have triggered an intense debate as to whether or not they are welcome at next years World Cup.

They are known as “Vuvuzelas” and have emerged relatively recently in South African domestic league football. The colour of the Vuvuzela determines which league team you support and the majority of South African football fans brought them along to the Confederations Cup. It is simply a long plastic horn which you blow into, to either make noise for the sake of it, or add atmosphere to the stadium, depending on your view. They are sounded incessently throughout the 90+ minutes and many criticise their distracting wasp-like drone accompaining the beautiful game. Following the opening stages of the Cup, FIFA was inundated with complaints requesting for the Vuvuzela’s to be outlawed in the upcoming World Cup.

Is the reaction of the western football world to the Vuvuzela’s justified or is it a product of narrow-minded football “purists” who seek a homogenous world game? I was initially a tad irked by the horns but as the Cup progressed, I came to realise they provide real atmosphere to the game and are the South African counterpart to the English rattle or the energetic samba drum beating in Brazil. International football embraces diversity and casting off an aspect of South African footballing culture because it doesn’t fit our own perception of the game is ignorant in the extreme. Football is played and supported in many different forms all across the world, no opinion as to how the game should be supported is in any way better than another and in this sense ignorance is coupled with arrogance in this debate, a “we know better,” attitude.
The overwhelming online opposition to the Vuvuzela is shocking and I seriously hope FIFA don’t cave in.
Links - Website pioneering online opposition to the Vuvuzela - S.A tourist website providing info on the Vuvuzela

2. Where does the USA go from here?
It is widely accepted that the Confederations Cup has been a wild success for the US team. The tournament has instilled confidence into US football fans who are now setting their sights on next years World Cup.The US performance in the competition has proven that with determination and sound organisation skills, seemingly lacklustre sides can overcome the world’s best.
The US seemed shaky and unsure in their first two games of the competition, succumbing to a 3-1 defeat in the hands of a Giuseppe Rossi inspired Italy and a 3-0 drubbing by Brazil. These losses were compounded by an almost inherent lack of discipline within the US team, picking up red cards in both games.Things looked gloomy for the US and the world was stunned when they fulfilled the tall order of beating Egypt in order to advance to the semis. The Egypt game saw a renewed confidence in the US team and they gathered significant momentum. An organised, defence-minded, counter attacking team took to the field against Spain and caused one of the greatest upsets of dare I say, of the decade? The US team had a real footballing identity and the pace of Dempsey, Donovan and Davies posed a constant threat.
Although it is far too easy to get carried away and rank the US among challengers for next years World Cup. Spirited performances indeed but even the powerhouses of world football have their blips and the US squad lack that special something that make teams like Brazil and Spain world-class.

3. Where does Italy go from here?
Since their World Cup success in 2006, the Italian squad have been labelled as being in free-fall. The displays in the Euro 2008 championships were a far cry from those seen two years previous. The hollow performances in the Euros resulted in the removal of Donadoni and the installation of Lippi. Lippi has retained an unbeaten record in the World Cup qualifiers but the quality of the opposition is up for debate. Any hopes that Italian fans may have mustered from the qualifiers may have been dashed by the lacking performances seen in the Confederations Cup.
The criticism of the squad within the Italian media has only worsened as a string of relatively poor results has been compounded by even worse performances. The talent is undoubtedly there but the passion truly isn’t. The Confederations Cup has only gone on to exacerbate tensions surrounding the squad as they suffered humiliation in the hands of the USA, failing to advance past the group stages. The team looked limp in the face of Brazil, sharply contrasted by the mentality of the US squad as they met Brazil in the final. The 3-0 result was a comprehensive one, when it really shouldn’t have been against the World Champions. The squad lacked the hunger shown in the last World Cup that served them so well.
If Italy are to mount a serious challenge in the upcoming World Cup, a serious reshuffle has to take place as the current formula is evidently a failed one. They just don’t look like World Cup winners when they play and unless serious change takes place, there is little chance of retaining the title next year.

4. Mark “not so,” Bright.
This is exclusive for UK users (sorry) as the BBC have used the Confederations Cup as a springboard for their new-ish commentator, Mark Bright.
He used to be a pundit every now and again on “Final Score” but has recently been bumped a couple of notches and I have no idea why... He commentated on a Milan Derby last year and has commentated on every evening kick-off Confederations Cup match.

I don’t mean to come across as blunt… but …he is downright dreadful. He gives no real tactical insight, his commentary lacks any substance and I am left longing for Andy Gray. I am not a big fan of British commentators and pundits and Bright is the worst of the lot, but I suppose I am spoilt by the comparatively fabulous coverage RTE provide. His commentary seems to rely on meaningless historical filler even the weakest of football fans could spit out. He makes countless mistakes and even though I am aware of his past experience as a professional footballer, you can’t help but question his fan credentials as evidenced by his obvious lack of knowledge. I mean, he was under the impression that Bocanegra was still a Fulham player in the Confed semi-final.
What makes it even more frustrating is the way the BBC are shamelessly plugging him in order to ease his career further. They have their second string punditry team reference Bright during their half-assed analysis in weak attempts to validate his wholly impotent statements. He is simply annoying, he doesn’t enhance your viewing of the game but rather takes away from it. For those who haven’t heard him commentate it may seem as if I am having a go for the sake of it, but all he really does is distract from the game.

I think it is safe to say that Mark Bright is more effective than a Vuvuzela in disrupting the beautiful game.
Charlie (Barcelona) 7 years ago
Good job Andy, good stuff. On the US's football identity; I really think you hit it on the the mark there, they really came into their own during and after the egypt win. I think it was the grandiosity of the event. If you have seen some of the matche they have had in the qualifiers, you could tell that they lacked that "identity" as a football team. I'm sure everyone watching was impressed, but as the final showed, the US still have work to do
Charlie (Barcelona) 7 years ago
I forgot to say what that identity was; they are not creative and flamboyant, they are persistent and fearless
Kingsickhead (Chelsea) 7 years ago
What? Maicon didn't satnd out he was in most of the brazil games the best atacking players yea kaka had signs but maicon was everywhere wow I wish I colud have a job where I could talk trash and still get paid
Andy (Rangers) 7 years ago
Could you name a better right-back? Like I mentioned in the post, full-backs did not stand out at the tournament but the best of a bad bunch came in the form of Masilela and Maicon.

The reason I pipped Maicon over the others was really the fact he involved himself well in Brazilian attacks and in the process, scored a fantastic goal v Egypt.

Oh, and, nobody makes money on this website at the minute
Kingsickhead (Chelsea) 7 years ago
Only kaka was good for brazil robihno didn't do well fabiano was brillant but maicon was really the third most influencial brazillian on the pitch really did you watch the games or the highlights? He was the point of attack ever since the second game corners free kicks making plays it was all him ! Not saying kaka is bad he's unpredictable when he get he ball. Anyway I'm saying at least a 8 for him and look back at the games
Andy (Rangers) 7 years ago
I don't understand what you are trying to say? I picked a player for every position in a 4-3-3 formation so I had to pick a right-back and Maicon was the best at the tournament. There were no stand-out fullbacks at the tournament and I emphasised that point in the OP. Tell me of a better right-back in the tournament?

I watched the early kick-offs on BBC interactive and the evening kick-offs on BBC3, I made notes on every match and I am more than pleased with my above analysis and I wouldn't think twice about re-watching the games.

If you think a particular player doesn't deserve a place on the Best XI, then name me a player of the same position who does, otherwise don't be over-critical and condemning of sound analysis I put effort into
Kingsickhead (Chelsea) 7 years ago
I'm saying I think you should have gave maicon a beter rating when brazil were on the attack he was in most of them and he did stand out to me the best players for brazil we the right backs alves maicon !
Reidscott (Fiorentina) 7 years ago
Being an Azzurri fan I could not agree with you more.... Very disappointed. Your takes are excellent and I enjoy reading them.... Keep on truckin dude. I will say this: next year is going to be one of the most interesting in memory.... All of the transfers coupled with the emergence of some real footy powers.... I am stoked (surfer term) to the max!

Can we start the playing now? Please? ...
Andy (Rangers) 7 years ago
Thanks for the kind comments guys, really appreciated.

I'll be doing my best to get the Survival Guide Part 2 finished, and hopefully i'll make the blog post a weekly occurrence
Ant (Liverpool) 7 years ago
Very much looking forward to it
Darius (Southampton) 7 years ago
If you start doing this weekly then you might have to take heed to kingsickhead's comment and start getting paid for it
Reidscott (Fiorentina) 7 years ago
I for one agree with Darius! You do a professional job and should get your reward.... Think about starting your own site.... I would subscribe to it.

Btw I was thinking about the horns the other day.... I kind of dig 'em.... It truly is a World Wide event and should take on the cultural flavor of the host country.... And that is as it should be.... However I do miss the massive roar when a goal is scored.... The horns are so constant that when something incredible happens it just gets drowned out and that takes away from the flow of the moment.... Other than that it kind of has it's own buzz (sorry)
Raf (Atletico Belo Horizonte) 7 years ago
Well, not a lot of tourists were at these games, at least compared to what the world cup will bring, regardless if someone loves or hate the horns, I think the level will decrease greatly because most of the outsiders, which will be a great part, will probably not use them. I might be dead wrong on that, but still. I don't mind them merely for the concept of accepting other cultures and their unique identities, it would be the same as if they told us to not play drums and chant the whole game in Brazil come 2014, I'd say go to hell
Lee (Kidderminster Harriers) 7 years ago
Actually, I often get just as annoyed by the 'England Band' drums at games, hearing h-a-p-p-y over and over again does my tits in. We should just leave it to the Brazilians...
Match (San Jose Earthquakes) 7 years ago
I support banning the horns. If it's part of a country's culture to scratch a chalkboard into a loudspeaker for 90+, should that not be banned? I know it's a sarcastic and exaggerated approach, but I mean no offense to SA culture. It's not that the horns sound like scratched chalkboard, but the fact that the sound is distracting to the players and fans for the FULL 90+. Even while watching the games on tv, the only two things I hear are 1, the horns, and 2, the commentator(s), in that order. Maybe they should just limit the size of the horns to taper the sound?
Solzu (Nottingham Forest) 7 years ago
I'm pretty sure Fifa won't have to give away tickets at the world cup which is something that happened during the Confed cup - I heard there were buses to bring in fans from local towns for a tenner.... What does this mean for the WC? - Less South African locals in every stadium and hpoefully less killer insect noise...
Paperboy (Manchester United) 7 years ago
The vuvuzelas make a racket but we should be careful about banning people from celebrating football in their own cultural way. If you let the authorities make rules about that sort of thing they might try and use them to ban other things like chanting. They might try to stop people singing non-politically correct songs like the 'Park Ji Sung.... You eat dogs' chant (my favourite chant ever, so funny) because it's offensive to South Koreans. But it's just for fun! The atmosphere at games is already being sterilised by stewards and cops telling us to sit down and shut up all the time. Let the fans blow their horns, it's just their culture! LOVE footy!
Ltm017 7 years ago
That's it? I mean most of them were standouts but I think you were off the mark with a few.... Maybe its just me
Incuteration (Everton) 7 years ago
I do agree that Maicon is great but I feel Dani Alves did better in this confederations cup, so he deserves the right back spot.

And how the hell not did any of Spain's player get in to the squad? Villa or Torres deserves the RF spot more than Rossi does. Capdevilla is way better than Masiela at left back spot so he deserves the spot.

Just my two cents worth. Good job for the round up as well.

Andy (Rangers) 7 years ago
The best XI is based on their overall Confederations Cup performances, some players disappointed while others shone. For instance, I think Alves is a better right-back than Maicon but Maicon played far longer than Alves and put in better performances. Alves scored a cracking free-kick but for most of the tournament, he was surplus to requirements.

Capdevilla gave solid performances yet made a couple of mistakes. He was dreadful in the match vs the USA and was responsible for Jozy Altidore's first goal, he was easily turned by the inexperienced center forward. I didn't include either Spanish forward in the team because they were never really tested, they had one testing game and it was against the USA and where was Villa or Torres? They had fairly poor games and in my opinion, not great tournaments.

(Writing this in a Runcorn Travel Inn after no sleep....)
Madjair (Liverpool) 7 years ago
I agree on the Mark Bright part. What bothers me is that he simply talks too much.... You've got to shut up every now and then as a commentator
Gigz365 (Leeds United) 7 years ago
Brighty is shocking, the reason he doesn't shut up though is because he used to have a show on the radio and dead air is not a good thing on the radio(the worst thing is I think he did the radio show ian "the patriot" wright).
I'm irish and I love listenin to bill, eamon, gilesy and souness(when he's on), but the rest of rte's product is s**t, for the confed cup they had ray(scottish)houghton and ronnie whelan doing analysis where they pilloried Iraq for playing defensively. Those two played the same tactics with ireland under jack charlton only we had better quality players than Iraq. And don't get me started on kenny "monotone" cunningham, seriously the next time kenny is analysing a game be careful you don't get hypnotized by his eyebrows
Dan11 (Barcelona) 7 years ago
Nice post, As a USA fan I completely agree, this was a great result in this tournament although I would not jump to the conclusion that we'll make noise at the world cup. I think getting out of the group stage would be a positive result for this team
Hithere (Manchester United) 7 years ago
I'm split about the Vuvuzelas as well. They do make it impossible to hear the crowd, which sucks but then again you can't just ban a South African footballing culture.

I don't think that FIFA will ban the instruments or else a LOT of South Africans will get angry.
I just wish there was a way so that you can only use those horns when an African team is playing or something
Jordanb429 (Barcelona) 7 years ago
Follow all of these players along with the rest of the footballing world online at:  Spam
Tom (Manchester United) 7 years ago
Oh noo looks like we got a spammer on our hands
Reidscott (Fiorentina) 7 years ago
It is what it is.... And that is cool. Anybody want to weigh in on the impact of K and CR at RM?

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