A-Z of the Confederations Cup

Goal works through the alphabet with a rundown of all the interesting facts and figures behind the tournament
By Alec Fenn

The clock may still have some way to tick before we're licking our lips at the prospect of the 'greatest show on earth', but before next summer's World Cup is upon us we can at least savour a brief taste of what is in store come 2014.

From June 15-30, eight teams will battle it out at the Confederations Cup in Brazil, as the host nation undergoes a dress rehearsal ahead of football's most prestigious tournament. Goal decided to put together our very own A-Z of the competition and give you the lowdown on everything from Golden Balls to magical Mexicans...

A is for Adriano. Back in 2005 the then 23-year-old was one of the hottest strikers on the planet. His five goals at the Confederations Cup that summer saw Brazil lift the trophy and Adriano crowned winner of the Golden Shoe (top goalscorer) and Golden Ball (best player).

B is for Brazil. The 2013 tournament will be held in Brazil and the Selecao will go in search of their fourth Confederations Cup triumph having won the last two editions of the competition in 2005 and 2009 as well as the 1997 edition.

C is for Cafusa. The official match ball for the tournament has been produced by Adidas and named Cafusa. The title is a combination of the words carnival, football and samba.

D is for Denilson. Once the most expensive player in world football, the Brazilian was awarded the Golden Ball at the 1997 Saudi Arabia competition to crown him the best player on show.

E is for eight.
The tournament is contested by the winners of the six Fifa confederation championships – Uefa, Conmebol, Concacaf, CAF, AFC and OFC, as well as the host nation and reigning World Cup-winners.*

F is for final. The 78,000-seater, refurbished Maracana stadium will host the 2013 Confederations Cup final.

G is for Golden Ball, Golden Shoe and Golden Gloves. Those are the three individual awards up for grabs for best player, top goalscorer and best goalkeeper in action across the two weeks of football.

H is for hat-tricks. Vladimir Smicer, Ronaldo, Romario, Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Marzouk Al-Otaibi, Ronaldinho, Luciano Figueroa and Fernando Torres are the only eight men to have scored a Confederations Cup hat-trick.

I is for Italy. The Azzurri have the chance to become the third team after Argentina and France to win all three major Fifa tournaments, having previously won the World Cup and Olympic football competitions. Uruguay & Spain can also achieve that feat with victory.

J is for Japan. The Samurai Blue make their fifth Confederations Cup appearance having qualified as Asian Cup champions. They finished in second place at the 2001 tournament.

K is for King Fahd Cup. Saudi Arabia originally organised and competed in the tournament, held in 1992 & 1995 and featuring only a few continental champions, before Fifa took over the competition and renamed it the Confederations Cup.

L is for Luis Fabiano. The Sao Paulo striker was the top goalscorer at the 2009 tournament and is one of five Brazilians who make up the top 10 hitmen in Confederations Cup history, alongside Alex, Romario, Ronaldinho and Adriano.

M is for magical Mexicans. Famed for his ‘Cuauhtemina’ or ‘Blanco’ trick of hopping between two players with the ball, Cuauhtemoc Blanco is tied with Ronaldinho for most goals in a single tournament. He scored nine times as Mexico lifted the trophy in 1999.

N is for Nielsen. Richard Moller Nielsen guided Denmark to their first and only Confederations Cup success back in 1995. They defeated Argentina 2-0 in the final.

O is for OFC. The 2012 OFC Nations Cup was won by Tahiti, meaning the small island become the first nation other than Australia or New Zealand to represent Oceania at the global tournament.
P is for part-time. Only one member of the Tahiti squad, Panathanaikos striker Marama Vahirua, plays outside of the Polynesian island. The rest ply their trade as semi-professionals in the Tahiti First Division.

Q is for qualified. Brazil, Japan, Mexico and Italy will do battle in Group A for a place in the semi-finals, while Spain, Uruguay, Tahiti and Nigeria will do the same in Group B.

R is for for record. An average of 60,625 supporters watched Confederations Cup matches at the Mexico 1999 tournament. That total is a competition record.

S is for six. The tournament will be contested at six venues in six different cities across Brazil.

T is for technology. Goal-line technology will be used in Brazil, with German company GoalControl GmbH the official provider of 14 high-speed cameras – seven behind each goal.

U is for Uruguay. Oscar Tabarez’s side are the second South American team, along with hosts Brazil, to qualify for the tournament as a result of their 2011 Copa America success. They are yet to win the trophy in their history.

V is for vuvuzela. The Brazilian version of the headache-inducing instrument, known as the caxirola, has been banned because of public safety concerns.

W is for winners. Brazil may well be hoping for a glorious exit from the competition if omens are anything to go by. On the three occasions they have lifted the Confederations Cup (1997, 2005 and 2009), the Selecao have gone on to finish runners-up, and quarter-finalists twice at the World Cups staged the following year.

X is for Xavier Samim. The 35-year-old Tahiti goalkeeper will do battle with Mickael Roche to be first choice for the tournament having usurped his younger rival towards the end of the OFC Nations Cup.

Y is for Vicente Yanez. The Spaniard is believed to be the first European explorer to have set foot on Brazilian soil back in 1500. Fast forward to 2013 and could Spain be the side to conquer the tournament in South America?

Z is for Zagallo, Mario Zagallo. The now 81-year-old Brazilian coach lifted the 1997 version of the competition, having guided the Selecao to World Cup final glory back in 1970.

*Italy qualified as Euro 2012 runners-up as Spain hold the World Cup and European Championship crowns.