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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Preview of Group A of Confederations Cup 2009

I have already written an entry on FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 schedule. The tournament has gone underway 14 June with a goalless draw between South Africa and Iraq in the first game. The 8-team tournament will see two groups comprising of four teams each will stage the group stage games on a round robin league basis during which each of the participating teams will face three other teams of their group. Here, I am going to write about Group A which includes South Africa, Iraq, New Zealand and Spain.

South Africa

The host side of next world cup would like to see the Confederations Cup as a ground for home work, before making a shot to world cup in front of home crowd in 2010. South Africa squad has quality players like captain defender Aaron Mokoena who is currently playing for Blackburn Rovers.

Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar would have a big role to play as well, while Bernard Parker, Bryce Moon are among the key men of coach Joel Santana. Though South Africa did not have many successes in football except one African Cup of Nations title in 1996 and just two world cup appearances, they would like to do something special in front of their home fans this time.


This is going to be the first Confederations Cup appearance for the war-torn country who shocked the Asian giants two years back when it surprisingly won the AFC Asian Cup for the first time in 2007. Iraq appeared in 1986 world cup, though failed to show anything special after being eliminated from the first round.

However, Iraq’s recent performance is really very impressive as they finished fourth in the 2004 Olympic Games. So, Iraqi footballers would like to give some occasions to their fans to cheer on in the tournament. They have some skilled players like Younis Mahmoud, Alaa Abdul-Zahra, Salam Shakir, Salam Shakir, Mohammed Ali Karim, Nashat Akram, Salih Sadir, Abdul-Wahab Abu Al-Hail, Hawar Mulla Mohammed and Mahdi Karim.

New Zealand

New Zealand is the dominant side in Oceania region as they already have four continental titles to their credit. New Zealand is expecting some excellent performance from some of their key players like Ivan Vicelich, Tony Lochhead, Simon Elliott, Tim Brown, Leo Bertos, Celtic striker Chris Killen and Chris Wood who is currently playing for West Bromwich Albion. New Zealand did not have any success beyond their continent and they have not quailed for world cup ever. So, they would now try to bring out some success for the fans, even though it would be very hard to achieve.


Euro 2008 champion Spain is one of the football powerhouses in the presence of some of today’s best players like Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso, Xavi Hern├índez, Cesc F├ábregas, David Silva, David Villa, Carles Puyol and goalkeeper Iker Casillas. Spain plays in world cup regularly. Spain’s recent performance is also very impressive as they have almost clinched their place in the 2010 world cup during the ongoing world cup qualifying round. European and Latin American teams are always favorite in Confederations Cup, and I think, Spain has all the chances to win the tournament.

Probable Qualifiers of Semi Final from Group A: Spain and South Africa

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