Monday, July 1, 2013

Confederations Cup Recap

Well, the precursor to the World Cup is now in the books, and it's time to take a look back. Overall, this edition of the Confederations Cup was pretty successful. In terms of quality of play and stadium atmosphere, you can't complain. Protests and activism in cities around Brazil didn't affect the event itself very much. I'll go over some of the highlights, lowlights, and revisit some of my pre-tournament predictions.


Goal of the Tournament
Spectacular goals are often the most remembered of tournaments (Ronaldinho vs. England in 2002, Maxi Rodriguez vs. Mexico in 2006). This is even more true when they are the first goal the competition (Lahm vs. Costa Rica in 2006, Tshabalala vs. Mexico in 2010). That's why Neymar's strike against Japan to open up the Confeds gets the nod.

Save of the Tournament
You would think names like Casillas, Buffon, and Julio Cesar should easily qualify, and they each had some great saves, to their credit. However, no save was more meaningful than David Luiz's goal-line clearance in the final. That tackle kept Brazil in the lead; had Pedro scored the game would have gone much differently.

Best Match
Hands down, the Japan vs. Italy match was the most exciting of the Cup. A back-and-forth brawl where both teams had chances to ice the game, until the Azzurri prevailed.

Feel-Good Moment
Expectations for Tahiti were to be thoroughly embarrassed, and judging by their scorelines, they were. However the integrity and spirit with which they played each match was very admirable. The Brazilian fans adopted the OFC champs as their own, but the best moment for the minnows was when Jonathan Tehau rose above the Nigerian defender on a corner kick and scored their only goal of the tournament.


Social and political issues were brought to the forefront in Brazil during the Confeds. Protests occurred in most major cities, including on gamedays. While they were mostly peaceful, there were a few of instances of police using rubber bullets and tear gas on the crowd, as well as some troublemakers lighting fires in the streets. 

These events were foreshadowed when President Dilma Rousseff, a popular leader until recently, was booed at the opening ceremony. For his efforts to calm the crowd, diminutive FIFA President Sepp Blatter received the same treatment.

Hindsight is 20/20:

The reason I decided to call this blog "Unbiasedly Biased" is because even though I am very opinionated in the world of soccer, I am also man enough to admit when I am wrong. 

So here is me coming full circle, boasting about my correct calls with my tail between my legs.

For reference, here are the two preview posts:

Correct Predictions:
  • Selecting Brazil and Spain to meet in the finals.
  • Brazil's defense holding strong, allowing a tournament-low three goals.
  • Uruguay's midfield being a liability. Forlan dropped back far too often to collect and distribute the ball.
  • Mario Balotelli scoring a goal and receiving a card (though it was only a yellow).
Incorrect Predictions:
  • Spain holding the trophy at the end (Fair Play trophy doesn't count).
  • Japan sneaking into the semi-finals. They could have done it, had Kagawa not missed a point-blank header.
  • Italy having a strong defense. They leaked eight goals in five games, and Buffon looked past it.
  • Brazil's strikers being a weakness. Fred has a nose for goal, scoring five, and Jo chipped in with a couple of his own.
  • Neymar underwhelming. Yeah, I blew it on that one.
Onto the Gold Cup!

Feel free to leave comments and feedback, suggest future topics to cover, whatever. Also follow me on Twitter @biasedsoccer

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