With club competitions way behind us, the daily fantasy football players don’t have plenty of football action to choose from. Luckily, the FIFA Confederations Cup is on the horizon, and it could turn out to be an excellent opportunity for managers to showcase their coaching skills and earn some cash in the process here at Sportito.
This year’s edition will be played in Russia, and the upcoming World Cup hosts are welcoming the best teams from six continents. However, not all teams will come with the strongest squads, and you should have a closer look on Germany and Joachim Low’s decision not to call some of his best players. We are giving you the insight into the squads of each eight teams and players who should be the leading stars of the competition.
CONFEDERATIONS CUP 2017
The head coach Stanislav Cherchesov won only three out of nine games since August 2016 when he was appointed as the new manager of the Sbornaya. This tournament will be his biggest test as Russia prepares for the World Cup in 2018, and potential disappointment here could even lead to Cherchesov’s sacking. Nobody expects the hosts to win, but reaching the semis is surely an imperative for Russia.
Player to watch – Fedor Smolov
In the absence of Artem Dzyba and Alan Dzagoev, Fedor Smolov emerged as the top Russian player, as he finished the season as the top scorer in the domestic Premier League, for the second year in a row. Smolov bagged 18 goals in the championship and additional four in the Europa League, while he also scored a pair in six friendly games for the national side.
The All Whites are the underdogs here, and nobody expects them to make a surprise as the competition is pretty fierce. It will be their fourth appearance at the Confederations Cup after they qualified thanks to the 2016 OFC Nations Cup win. New Zealand should enjoy their time here and be grateful to play against some world-class players, reaching the semi-finals would be a miracle.
Player to watch – Chris Wood
The defender and captain Winston Reid didn’t get a call from the coach Anthony Hudson so Chis Wood will captain the side as the country’s biggest star. The phenomenal striker scored 30 goals for Leeds United last season, and he already has 19 in 49 matches for New Zealand, so it’s obvious that he will present a serious threat to opponent defenses.
The Mexicans are going to play at the Confederations Cup for the seventh time, which makes them a regular contestant on the competition that they won back in 1999. They qualified here as the 2015 CONCACAF Cup winners and are one of the favorites to win the title again as the head coach Juan Carlos Osorio called the country’s top players. Mexico always took this tournament seriously, and nobody will be surprised if they lift the trophy on the 2nd July.
Player to watch – Javier Hernandez
A popular Chicharito didn’t have the best of times at Leverkusen last season, but he managed to score 11 goals in Bundesliga. However, he is an absolute beast when it comes to representing his beloved country as he is the team’s top scorer with 47 goals in 92 games. Although Mexico has excellent players such as Vela, Dos Santos, Herrera, and Guardado, Chicharito is their biggest star, and he is eager to bring the second Confederations Cup title to his homeland.
The world was shocked when Portugal won at the EURO 2016, especially after they drew all three games in the group. It’s their debut at the Confederations Cup, and the coach Fernando Santos decided to call his best players at the moment, even though some of them had a quite exhausting season. Portugal is expected to make their way into the semis, but Mexico and Russia are also in the mix, which makes the Group A more interesting than the Group B.
Player to watch – Cristiano Ronaldo
We don’t have to spend a lot of words on him; Ronaldo bagged 38 goals in all competition for Real Madrid last term, including the brace in the Champions League Finals against Juventus. He is Portugal’s recorder in caps (139) and goals (73) and is undoubtedly the biggest star at this tournament. Winning here would add another trophy to his already rich collections of titles.
The world champions are participating at the Confederations Cup for the third time, and their best result is the third place back in 2005 when they were the hosts. It seems that Joachim Low doesn’t highly appreciate this competition and he opted for a younger squad without Ozil, Muller, Kroos, Gomez, Hummels, Neuer, among others. However, the Germans are always favorites to win titles, and it would be surprising if they don’t reach the semi-finals here.
Player to watch – Julian Draxler
The PSG midfielder will captain this young Germany side in the absence of the star players, and although he’s only 23, he is the most gifted individual in the squad at the moment. Draxler scored four goals in 17 games for the French outfit, and he is equally dangerous as the finisher and the passer, so he is expected to be a focal figure for Germany at the Confederations Cup.
The 2017 Africa Cup of Nations winners are playing for the third time in this competition; they were the runner-up in 2003 when France beat them after extra time. Cameroon and Australia are the underdogs in the Group B, but maybe they can exploit the fact that the Germans are not at full strength and make a surprise by reaching the semis.
Player to watch – Vincent Aboubakar
The 25-year-old striker had a solid season at Besiktas as he scored 19 goals in all competitions, and the former Porto player is the evident start in the young Cameroon side. Aboubakar can be a real nuisance to opposing goalkeepers as he can be evenly effective in both the air and the ground. Vincent is Cameroon’s top scorer with 16 goals in 56 matches.
The 2015 AFC Asian Cup winners previously won the second and third place in 1997 and 2001, respectively, but now it’s going to be hard qualifying for the semi-finals, especially without the captain Mile Jedinak. However, Australia has numerous experienced players who are playing in top European leagues, and it seems they have more chances to progress than Cameroon.
Player to watch – Tom Rogic
Tim Cahill is the usual player to watch for Australia, but the 24-year-old midfielder is slowly becoming one of the key players for his national team. Rogic scored eight goals for Celtic last season, and his technique, dribbling, and finishing abilities are quite uncommon for the Australian. Although he lacks precision in his passing, Rogic likes to take the opportunity and attack the ball from deep, which can turn out to be problematic to Australia’s opponents.
Chile is coming to Russia with the clear intent of winning this competition following their success at the 2015 Copa América. They have the unchanged team for years now, and coach Juan Antonio Pizzi is delighted to have his star player such as Sanchez, Vidal, and Bravo available for this tournament. It’s Chile’s debut at the Confederations Cup, but nonetheless, they are expected to reach the semi-finals without problems.
Player to watch – Alexis Sanchez
Sanchez had a terrific season at Arsenal; scoring 30 goals and adding 13 assists to his name. He is looking to become Chile’s top goal-scorer as he currently has 37 goals, the same as the legendary Marcelo Salas. Along with Ronaldo, Chicharito, and Draxler, Sanchez should be the real superstar of the tournament and will surely make breathtaking moves during the competition.
Although every team has individuals who can explode at this tournament, these players should be on your mind when you pick the best eleven for your Confederations Cup fantasy football lineup.