FIFA Confederations Cup 2017: 5 Reasons why Portugal are the favourites
It has been nearly a year since Portugal won Euro 2016, but it seems like only yesterday. Moment’s like Payet’s volley, Shaqiri’s bicycle kick, Dier’s free kick are still fresh in the mind. The campaign was a rollercoaster ride for Fernando Santos’ side, which saw various highs and lows throughout the tournament. It all culminated with Eder’s goal in extra time, one that would be cherished for generations to come in the country, for it brought Portugal their first major international silverware.
And now fast forward one year, they stand on the brink of recreating history, with the opportunity to add to their international tally, courtesy the FIFA Confederations Cup. While the Euro turned out to be an uphill battle where the underdogs were victors, this time the ball is in their court. And today, we present five reasons why Portugal should be considered as one of the favourites to win FIFA Confederations Cup 2017.
#5 Absence of tough competition
One reason why the Confederations Cup is never able to garner as many viewers as some of the other international footballing events, is because of the relatively poor quality of competition. The quality of football played in countries belonging to UEFA and CONMEBOL make them favourites against teams that play in other confederations. This is easily proven by the fact that only once has a team outside of Europe and South America won this competition.
Now on paper, there are always these three favourites to win this event. The World Champions, the European Champions and the South American Champions. Occasionally we can add the host team to this list, for example, Brazil in 2013. On this occasion though, the hosts, Russia don't have much in their favour except favourable home conditions.
The two major thorns in the way of the Portuguese are going to be Germany and Chile. While Chilean football itself is going through a golden period with a team that won consecutive Copa America tournaments, things haven’t gone that well for them since. They stand fourth in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers CONMEBOL table, just three points within the qualification zone for next year’s mega event.
On the other hand, in order to give some much-deserved rest to their senior players, Germany have sent a young and inexperienced team. They seem more concerned about testing some new faces than winning the tournament.
While both these teams are still capable of giving Portugal a fight for their money, they aren’t good enough to be declared the outright favourites.