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.
|Brazil came from two goals down to beat the US in the 09 final|
Of the groups, the first one is the hardest to call. If you are unsure who’ll progress from the group here is a few gambling tips including a shock semi-finalists pick.
Brazil have only won twice this calendar year, failing to overcome England on a couple of occasions, means they hardly go into the tournament in the best of form.
Despite their questionable form, the bookies never overlook Brazil and the hosts are favourites to win the Confederations Cup for a third consecutive year.
Luis Felipe Scolari has selected a young squad, excluding previous Ballon D’Or winners in the form of Ronaldinho and Kaka. The former Chelsea manager clearly has more than one eye on next year’s World Cup as he looks to bled some of those tipped to excel come 2014.
Gambling tips: Back Brazil to make the final.
Japan became the first nation to qualify for the World Cup following a 1-1 draw at home to Australia last week.
They have taken a technically sound squad with them to Brazil, which includes no less than eight players from the Bundesliga. Their key players in the form of Shinji Kagawa and Keisuke Honda have both been selected and their hopes of getting out of a daunting group could rest on these two creative players.
|If Kagawa can fire then Japan shock a few at the tournament|
Japan can be found as long as 50/1 to win the tournament which is surprisingly long. I don’t they Alberto Zaccheroni’s side have a decent chance of getting out of the group, which at odds of 8/1 has real value.
Gambling tips: If Japan can get four points from Mexico and Italy I think they’ll get out of the group. Semi-finalists.
Mexico have not had the best of times lately and their place at the 2014 World Cup is far from assured.
The majority of the 23 selected for the tournament are home-based players and they’ve struggled to score goals of late, despite Javier Hernandez’s best efforts. Valencia’s Andres Guardado is their best player and he’ll have to be excellent to give them a chance.
I think they are the worse of the four sides in the group and I’m baffled as to why they are as short as 12/1 to win the whole thing.
Gambling tip: Don’t expect them to qualify from the group.
Italy were embarrassed in a warm-up friendly with Haiti as the minnows came from behind to earn an amazing 2-2 draw.
While the majority of the infamous Italian old guard has gone, the class of Juventus duo Andrea Pirlo and Gianluigi Buffon remain. Their lack of a real world-class striker has caused them problems for some time and it’s evident at this tournament. Although Mario Balotelli has all the ingredients to be exactly what Italy requires, their back-ups aren’t good enough.
Their game against Japan will be the big one for me and if they fail to win they may have to get something against Brazil.
Gambling tip: I feel they will narrowly be edged out of qualification and finish third.