Portugal and Germany Lead the Way in Confederations Cup Bid
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Portugal and Germany Lead the Way in Confederations Cup Bid

The 2018 World Cup dry run is upon us, with Russia playing host to the 2017 Confederations Cup.

Eight teams will do battle for tournament glory, but it is more about preparation for 12 months’ time than lifting the Confederations Cup.

There are two groups of four – Russia, Portugal, Mexico and New Zealand in Group A, while Group B contains Germany, Australia, Cameroon and Chile.

The top two in each group will progress to the semi-finals, ahead of the final at the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg on July 2nd.

The two standout sides are the holders of the two biggest tournaments in international football – World Cup 2014 winners Germany and Euro 2016 victors Portugal – and they are joint favourites at 3.50 with 188BET.

Portugal may be European champions, but they’ve not been performing like it in World Cup qualifying and have work to do to reach Russia 2018. They trail Group B leaders Switzerland by three points with four games remaining and will need to step things up or go through the playoffs.

But they can put those concerns to one side for the next few weeks and look certainties to emerge from Group A; are priced at 1.75 to win the pool.

Tournament organisers and home fans will hope Russia can join Portugal in progressing from Group A, and it is likely to boil down to a battle between the host nation and Mexico. And they will meet in the final group game in Kazan on June 24th.

Germany have been performing as Germany tend to do, supremely well. They are a perfect six wins out of six and top Group C of World Cup qualifying by five points. Qualification is all-but assured and they will head to Russia for the Confederations Cup in high spirits.

Qualification out of Group B should be a formality for Joachim Low’s men – they are 1.90 with 188BET to top the pool – and should be joined in reaching the semi-finals by Chile who look far better than Australia and Cameroon.

A potential knock against Germany is Low has selected a rather inexperienced squad – with the manager claiming his aim is to see what the next generation of players has to offer. It is a commendable stance, but it comes fraught with danger and is a reason to avoid backing them for overall victory.

Chile have great attacking threats in Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal, but their record away from home in South American qualifying has been poor – they’ve lost four and drawn one of their past five – and were beaten in Romania in a friendly earlier this week.

With Chile’s poor record on the road in mind, Portugal are the selection. Any side with a fit and firing Cristiano Ronaldo – he scored twice in the win over Latvia last week – would have a chance at major glory, but he is backed up by a wealth of talent including Bernardo Silva, Andre Silva and William Carvalho – and it can be enough to help Fernando Santos’ side lift another trophy.

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