Fifa World Cup 2002 Germany Vs Saudi Arabia History of the FIFA Confederations Cup

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History of the FIFA Confederations Cup

With the FIFA Confederations Cup only a short seventy five days away, it is interesting to look at how the tournament has evolved in recent years. This is an Association Football tournament which is held every four years, eligible contestants being the winners of each of the six FIFA confederation championships: CAF, CONMEBOL, UEFA, AFC, OFC and CONCAFCAF. To bring the number of countries competing up to eight, the FIFA World Cup winner and the host country are included.

The Mundialito or Copa D’Oro was the forerunner to the Confederations Cup. The Artemio Franchi Trophy, contested between 1985 and 1993 between the winners of the European Football Championships and the Copa America is thought of as a precursor to the Confederations Cup and was effectively replaced by the tournament in the same way that the Intercontinental Cup club tournament preceded the FIFA Club World Cup.

If the World Champion is also the winner of its confederation championship, then the World Cup runner-up also plays in the Confederations Cup, making up the eight teams. To illustrate, Brazil, the World Champion in 1995, with World Cup runner-up, Germany had qualified. Brazil then won the Copa America and vacant eighth spot was given to Argentina, runner-up in the Copa America.

On three occasions teams have declined to participate in the tournament. UEFA Euro 1996 winner, Germany, did not play in the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup and was replaced by the Czech Republic, the runner up in that tournament. France, 1998 FIFA World Cup winner, declined to participate in the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup and was replaced by Brazil, the 1998 World Cup runner-up and 1997 Cop America champion. Germany, the FIFA 2002 World Cup runner-up, declined to take part in the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup and was replaced by Turkey, who won third place in the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

The tournament was originally called the Intercontinental Championship or King Fahd Cup and was held in Saudi Arabia. It was played in 1992 and 1995 between the Saudi national team and certain continental champions. In 1997 FIFA became the organisers of the renamed FIFA Confederations Sup, which took place every two years. After 2005 the Confederations Cup will be held every four years, one year prior to the FIFA World Cup in the host country of the forthcoming World Cup. It is seen as a dress rehearsal for the World Cup and makes use of about half of the stadia which will be used in the following year.

This year’s Confederation Cup will give host country, South Africa, a vital taste of international competitive football which takes place during the friendly matches before the actual Cup.

Opinion by Robert Wilson

CEO, Magic Marketing.co.za & Travel in South Africa.net

Specialist Tour and Transport Operators, Johannesburg, South Africa

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