On the 15th June 2013 the FIFA Confederations Cup begins, a tournament that, since 2001, has acted as the World Cup rehearsal tournament. A way of testing the new stadia, facilities, security etc. Brazil are the hosts this year and for the World Cup next year.
The Confederations Cup invites winners of each FIFA confederation from Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Asia & Oceania, along with a few other nations including the hosts and the World Cup holders. (Some nations have chosen not to participate some years).
Classed as a ‘major’ tournament by FIFA, but many would be hard pushed to remember who won the 2009 competition. Better than the U23 Olympic tournament last year though (Don’t mention GB). Still it will be some football to watch during the summer.
The Confederations Cup was originally called the ‘King Fahd Cup’ (changed to the present name in 1997 after 2 tournaments) which started in 1992. Only 4 teams entered the first tournament (8 enter now) in which Argentina beat hosts Saudi Arabia 3-1.
Euro 92 winners Denmark won the ‘King Fahd Cup’ in 1995. Swansea manager Michael Laudrup scored one of the goals for the Danes in a 2-0 win against Argentina (again in Sauda Arabia).
See the goals here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6620r3jrn9s
Brazil hammered Australia 6-0 in 1997 with hatricks from Ronaldo and Romario, again in the hotbed of football that is Saudi Arabia. Mexico are the only hosts to win this cup when they beat Brazil 4-3 in 1999. France then won the next two Confederations Cup finals 1-0 in 2001 & 2003 beating Japan & Cameroon respectively.
France celebrate their 2003 win, along with a tribute for ex Manchester City player
Marc Vivien Foe who sadly died at the tournament
In 2005 in Germany, Brazil thrashed fellow South Americans Argentina 4-1 with goals from Adriano (2), Kaka & Ronaldinho and won the 2009 tournament in South Africa by beating surprise finalists USA 3-2.
Brazil have featured in the most Confederations Cups (6 out of 8) and are looking to win their 4th title and their 3rd successive Confederations Cup.
The teams in this year’s Confederations Cup are Brazil (hosts), Spain (World Cup & European Cup winners), Japan (Asia Cup winners), Mexico (CONCACAF Gold Cup winner), Uruguay (Copa America winner), Nigeria (African Cup of Nations winner), Italy (Euro 2012 runner up) & Tahiti (Oceania Cup winner).
Yes you did read that last part right, Tahiti are going to be playing in the Confederations Cup! They are in the same group as Spain, Uruguay & Nigeria. Here are a few facts about Tahiti, the National team and how they got there in the first place:
Tahiti is the highest and largest island in French Polynesia in the South Pacific, located 3500 miles from Australia and has a population of around 180,000 and the capital city is called Papeete. I was also told on Twitter the other day that David Essex once sang a song about them, I will not link it as it really not worth listening to – Don’t say I didn’t warn you if you’re curiosity gets the better of you!
The National football team played their first match back in 1952, their current FIFA ranking is: 135 (out of 207), just below Belize, Vietnam & Turkmenistan. The highest they have ever been in the FIFA Rankings is 111 – in 2002. They did win 18-0 once against American Samoa in 2000 in an OFC Qualifier.
They are currently managed by Eddy Etaeta and their current top goal scorer is Teaonui Tehau who has 8 goals for Tahiti, he plays for club team AS Dragon
Teaonui Tehau of Tahiti
The 2012 OFC Nations Cup was played in the Solomon Islands, they were hosts for the 1st time. 8 teams entered altogether, the likes of Fiji, Samoa & Vanuatu – I’m guessing my favourite country Tuvalu failed to qualify or failed to get a team together……..
Tahiti won their 1st group game 10-1 against Samoa and won their group with maximum points, New Caledonia (Don’t know what happened to the old one) also qualified for the Semi Finals. In Group B, New Zealand won their group a little unconvincingly with 2 wins and 1 draw and just 4 goals scored.
New Zealand, with the likes of Chris Wood (Leicester), Tommy Smith (Ipswich), Leo Bertos (ex Rochdale) & Rory Fallon (Aberdeen & ex Swan) surprisingly lost 2-0 to New Caledonia in the Semi Final.
Tahiti beat the hosts the Solomon Islands 1-0 to progress to the final, there would be a new winner of the OFC Cup. Australia had won it 4 times and New Zealand 4 times.
In the final Chong Hue of Tahiti scored the winning goal on 10 minutes to win the OFC Cup for the 1st time, see the goals here: (I’m loving the stadium surrounding if I’m honest).
For those of you who don’t know, Australia now play in Asia rather than Oceania as they wanted to play games that were more ‘challenging’. (I do wonder whether Wales could ask FIFA to play in Oceania as we find Europe too challenging) This has made winning the OFC a little easier of course, but still a great achievement for Tahiti to win and face the big Nations of World football.
Now I personally love an underdog in most sports, I loved the fact that Greece won Euro 2000 at the time, beating the so called ‘better nations’ along the way. On reflection though their football was pretty boring to watch, sending the opposition to sleep was one of their tactics. Their supporters probably didn’t care though.
Tahiti have no chance of winning the Confederations Cup, they’ll probably be lucky to have a shot on target, never mind a goal but it will be a great experience for the players, coaches and the supporters in Brazil. I can’t imagine many of them have played outside of Oceania before or at such great stadia before.
It may not be the World Cup and many people are probably not that concerned who wins it, but for Tahiti it will probably be the closest they will ever get. I will be watching this year’s Confederations Cup to see how Tahiti do, I hope they don’t get humiliated by the teams they play in the group.
Now where can I buy a Tahiti football shirt?
Tahiti will be the 30th different Nation to compete in the Confederations Cup, other nations who have played in it that may surprise you are: Canada (2001), Iraq (2009) & the United Arab Emirates (1997).
Monday 17th June 2013 – Tahiti v Nigeria – 20:00
Thursday 20th June – Tahiti v Spain – 20:00
Sunday 23rd June – Tahiti v Uruguay – 20:00