The tournament which is a dress rehearsal before the senior F.I.F.A World Cup kicked off on the 15th of June 2013 and climaxed on the 30th of June 2013. It featured World Champions Spain, World Cup 2014 hosts Brazil, African Champions Nigeria, CONCACAF Champions Mexico, CONEMBOL Champs Uruguay, Oceania Champions Tahiti, Asian Champions Japan and Italy had to represent Europe because Spain are also the current European Champions. Italy were runners up to Spain at the Euro 2012 tourney so it was right for them to participate. I wonder why F.I.F.A didn’t allow Spain parade two teams (I know they are capable). It was an interesting tournament without a doubt and it surely gave me a perspective on what to expect at the World Cup next year.
Before the competition kicked off, my friends had started throwing banters asking why England didn’t qualify or I shouldn’t watch the tournament because I had no team there. I don’t know if they will ever get tired of playing the banter game with me because I always have a response, no matter how silly it was. It got them to shut up, think and come up with another gist. So my response to the English national team’s absence was England didn’t have anything to prove because the last time they played Spain (World and European Champions), they beat Spain and I don’t care how because there was a winner and it certainly wasn’t Spain. As for the eventual Confed cup winners, dem sef chop am abeg. So England has got the bragging rights over the current Confederations Cup winners (Brazil) and the runner up (Spain).
I didn’t watch some of the games as my sleep was more important, besides England and Manchester United weren’t involved so why bother. I however saw all games involving the Super Eagles of Nigeria (a massive fan of Stephen Keshi) and they didn’t do too badly. Nigeria’s game against Tahiti was the only one the Super Eagles won and I will still commend the efforts of the lads (special mention to Mikel Obi). We could have done better against Uruguay though but the game against Spain was a match I will forever remember. Nigeria impressed me despite losing 3-0. They played really well but lacked the finishing required to bury chances. I didn’t believe the Eagles would match the Spanish team in terms of ball possession (Yea Spain had more of the ball but Nigeria wasn’t far apart).
I saw Brazil against Japan and though the Brazilians won 3-0, I wasn’t impressed with their game. The Italy versus Mexico game was more interesting. Italy won 2-1 and my boy Chicharito of Man Utd scored Mexico’s goal via a penalty kick. Brazil dented Mexico’s hope of progressing to the semi finals by beating them 2-0 and the Brazilians played slightly better. Italy beat Japan in the other group game 4-3 and my boy Shinji Kagawa (Man Utd player) scored a beautiful goal for the Japenese (My boys were always on the losing side sha *covers face*). Mexico beat Japan 2-1 (Chicharito brace) to finish the tournament with some sort of pride, leaving Japan pointless in all their 3 games.
The clash of the big boys (Brazil vs Italy) in Group A ended in the Samba boys of Brazil’s favour which handed them an easier route to the final. The Samba boys avoided Spain and beat Uruguay in a not so easy encounter. It ended 2-1. Spain played Italy in a game I would regard as the best game of the tournament in the other semi final. It was box to box, end to end football. With Italy not caring who’s ox was gored. Italy as you will remember lost 4-0 to Spain at the Euro 2012 final. Italy however matched Spain pace for pace, skill for skill and save for save. The game ended 0-0 and Spain prevailed prevailed 7-6 via spot kicks. Italy went on to beat Uruguay 3-2 on penalties in the third place match after the game ended 2-2 in regulation time.
The final game between Brazil and Spain surprised a lot of people and I wasn’t one of them (well the scoreline surprised me though). The Brazilians dumped their Samba style of play for a more purposeful and direct approach. Boy did that work? Yea it did. Spain were BRUISED, BATTERED and BRUSHED, their luck ran out. Brazil have finally found their mojo and yes they have given me something to look forward to next year. Brazil are ‘my’ clear favourites to win the World Cup next year (after England). Please the keyword in that sentence is ‘my’.
Okay seriously what’s your take on Neymar? Before the tournament everyone I asked didn’t have one good thing to say about the dude, not even Barca fans. Guess he has shut you guys up (for now at least). Neymar in one word for me? BRILLIANT, though I still have issues with his attitude. He won the golden ball as best player of the tournament. Fernando Torres was handed the golden boot though he scored same amount of goals as Fred of Brazil but he was given the boot because he had less playing time. Spain won the F.I.F.A Fair play award and Julio Cesar of Brazil was goalkeeper of the tournament.
Asides the protest that marred the tournament, it was a good one overall and hopefully the issues would be sorted before the World Cup next year.
Thanks for reading as always…………………………………………….. BLESS!!!
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