The Confederations Cup is set to end on Sunday, officially starting a one-year countdown until the 2018 World Cup. This tournament is an unofficial practice round for the host nation, and Russia has done a fine job through two weeks.
The competition was solid, and the four semifinalists are representative of the world’s game. The champions of Europe, South America and North America all reached the semifinal, along with the defending World Cup champions. Semifinals are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, with the final set for Sunday afternoon in Saint Petersburg.
It was Russia’s first time hosting the tournament, which has existed in it’s current format since 1997. The tournament is comprised of the six FIFA confederation championships, the defending World Cup champion, and the host nation. Russia won the opening match of the tournament, but did not advance out of the group stage. Russia is also an automatic qualifier for the 2018 World Cup.
Chile reached the semifinal, and they are the ones replacing a tournament staple. Brazil had been in every previous Confederations Cup, and has won the previous three consecutive tournaments. But South America is one of the world’s most competitive continents, and Chile have won the previous two Copa America titles.
While the World Cup is all about prestige, the Confederations Cup is not as serious. It’s more of a measuring stick for international clubs and a chance to get younger players high-level international experience. First place in the tournament takes home $5 million this year, with second place securing $4.5 million. Every team received $2 million just for reaching the group stage in Russia.
There will be a consolation match for third place at 8 a.m. Eastern on Sunday, with the final starting at 2 p.m. Eastern. Both matches will air in the US on Fox Sports 1.