Confederations Cup – 2017 Edition with a 2013 Mini Throwback

16 Jun

Has it really been three years since Brazil?! I’m trying not to think about it, because it means only one year from WC2018 and that is just too much. Too much. But before that, there’s the Confederations Cup to get through. Time for Russia and its football fans to show us all how welcoming and accepting they are, despite the negative press.

Press like this and this. Alexei Smertin, Russia’s anti-racism and discrimination inspector, claims there will be no racism in 2018. Admirable if slightly foolish. But quite the change about from his 2015 assertion racism didn’t exist in Russia:

There’s no racism in Russia, because it doesn’t exist. It is something against the opposition, not against a person.

“Racism in Russia is like fashion,” he added. “It comes from abroad, from different countries. It was never, ever here before.

“Ten years ago, some fans may have given a banana to black guys – it was just for fun. I think the media is making the wrong image of Russia.”

Perhaps Smertin’s claim will become reality. European anti-discrimination group FARE and along with Russia-based SOVA recently released a report indicating Russia is making progress on racism in preparation for 2018. This bodes well for the Confederations Cup. The not-so-good part of the report is the groups’ acknowledgement of the growing entrenchment of football-related violence within various ethnic groups.

FIFA is attempting to be more proactive too in the run-up to WC2018 and has implemented a three-stage process to combat fan racism at Confederations Cup matches. Referees have been granted the authority to first request a public announcement addressing the abuse. If it continues, the referee can suspend the match until the incident(s) is resolved. In a worst case scenario, a game can be abandoned if the referee feels no timely and / or appropriate resolution will arrive.

This is an interesting approach, and one which is certainly going to come under criticism the first time (should a first time arrive) a ref initiates these actions. I personally don’t foresee any ref taking these actions except, maybe, the first one. The personal and professional risk is too high.

We shall see though when all of this fun kicks off June 17 in Saint Petersburg. Defending champions Brazil are not in attendance so consider the Cup fair game for these teams:

Australia – 2015 AFC Asian Cup Champions
Cameroon – 2017 CAF Africa Cup of Nations Champions
Chile – 2015 Copa America
Germany – 2014 World Cup Champions
Mexico – 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup Champions
New Zealand – 2016 OFC Nations Cup Champions
Portugal – 2016 European Champions
Russia – host country

I guess … Germany is the favourite? Portugal? No clue. All I ask is Cris and Kroos (or Cris Kroos!) emerge uninjured. Otherwise, I got bored just writing the team list. Is it alright if I say how uninspiring I find this lineup?

It may be because I know Russia will never be able to top moments like these from Brazil:

– hopechaser

2 Responses to “Confederations Cup – 2017 Edition with a 2013 Mini Throwback”

  1. Katie Ann June 16, 2017 at 7:12 pm #

    Brb, crying over the Iker pics…

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