The World Cup warm-up event the Confederations Cup starts this weekend with critics still questioning the tournaments existence.
Some see event as an end of season waste of time especially when you consider the majority of sides at the tournament have rescheduled important World-Cup qualifiers to be here.
Despite the complaints, the 2009 tournament was an excellent event which saw numerous shocks and some amazing matches.
After looking at the first group yesterday, here is a preview of Group B, where there are two clear favourites to progress.
The sides (odds of winning whole tournament next to name)
Spain – 7/4 with William Hill
Three successive major tournament victories is an incredible return for the golden Spanish generation and unsurprisingly they are on the favourites to win here.
Vincente Del Bosque, who has masterminded two of the three tournament triumphs, hasn’t sprung my shocks in his squad selection. Apart from the obvious qualities, the Spanish squad is also vastly experienced, with no less than 11 of the 23 already owning over 50 caps for their nation.
Of all the sides at the Confederations Cup Spain are certainly the best and they will want to make up for their 2009 semi-final shock defeat to the USA.
The only worry I hold for Spain is in the centre forward department and they could struggle for goals.
Fernando Torres and David Villa aren’t the same strikers they once were, meaning Valencia’s Roberto Soldado could feature more.
Gambling Tip: Back Spain to win the whole thing.
Uruguay – 11/1 with Bet Way
Despite struggling in South American World Cup qualification, their team is still an excellent one and it was only two years ago they won the Copa America.
Their 1-0 away win over Venezuela on Tuesday night has got them back into the play-off spot and was also great preparation for this tournament.
|The duo of Suarez and Cavani have 45 international goals between them|
In Edison Cavani and Luis Suarez they easily have the best centre forward partnership at the competition and should have no problems scoring goals.
Gambling Tip: Back them to at least make the semi-finals.
Tahiti – 5000/1 with Sky Bet
I’d be lying if I said I knew a lot about Tahiti. I don’t.
All but one of their players plying their trade in their domestic league and they won the 2012 Oceania Nations Cup to make this tournament.
It’s hard to see the Oceania minnows claiming even a point from their three games; however it will be a great experience for the squad.
Gambling Tip: There is a reason they have odds of 5000/1 to win the whole thing! Bottom of the group; expect a lot of goals to be conceded.
Nigeria – 40/1 with Bet Way
Nigerian coach Stephen Keshi appears to have one eye on the 2014 World Cup after picking a rather inexperienced squad for the Confederations Cup.
|Nigeria beat Burkina Faso 1-0 in the African Cup of Nations final to be here|
In comparison to Spain’s total of 11 players with over 50 national caps, Nigeria only have one and that’s the goalkeeper. Incredibly 12 of the 23 players selected haven’t even reached double figures in caps.
Victor Moses and Emmanuel Emineke haven’t been selected and without these two it’s hard to see the African Cup of Nations champions getting out of the group.
Gambling tip: They should beat Tahiti, but that’ll be it.