Something to keep in mind as you watch the Confederations Cup over the next two weeks:
Watch and enjoy, I say. Heck, outside of Major League Soccer, it’s a dead spot in a soccer caldendar that pretty much cranks out the greatness year-round otherwise.
If you are looking for significance in as a predictor of success – a fair premise, as the Confeds Cup is employed as a “dress rehearsal” for the next year’s World Cup and frequently involves many of the same nations – well, don’t look too hard.
If we look at the last three Confeds Cups that were held a year out in the World Cup countries, the winners neither the winners nor the runners-up did much to scream about a year later inside the same country, inside some of the very same stadiums.
2001 final – France defeats Japan, 2-1:
France was freakin’ awful a year later, ridiculously rudderless without talismanic leader Zinedine Zidane. Japan made it to the second round but lost to Turkey, not an overly impressive showing from one of the hosts.
2005 final – Brazil defeats Argentina, 4-1:
Whenever Brazil does not win the World Cup, it always feels like a national crisis in the country. When Brazil is eliminated in the quarterfinals, the world must be falling apart! So, yeah. Argentina had a strong team but also fell in the quarters, eliminated in penalty kicks after a good match with Germany.
2009 final – Brazil defeats the United States 3-2:
Yes, the United States! Little ol’ us! Remember how swell it was to take a bit out of majestic Spain in the semifinal! Holy Xavi, those were good times! .. But then, remember how lousy it felt going out to freakin’ Ghana, again, in the Round of 16? All the scourge of “opportunity lost” careening toxically around the interwebs? Yeah, that sucked.
Brazil went out to Netherlands, not looking too wise in that quarterfinal in Port Elizabeth.