The Confederations Cup is the traditional forerunner to the FIFA World Cup where the host nation, the current reigning World Cup Champions and the six winners of the FIFA Confederation Championships (i.e. OFC Nations Cup) come together to play against each other.
It is no small feat for a player to make their country’s squad, and it is usually a good indicator that they should make the final 23 for the following summer. With this is mind, here are some of the standout players of this years Confederation Cup, which is being held in Russia from June 17th to July 2nd.
Alex Sanchez, Forward, Chile (Arsenal)
Sanchez is not a player in need of an introduction. The 28-year-old will be critical to a Chile side that is among the tournament favourites, but he will be one to watch off the pitch as well. He has been linked with a move away from Arsenal this summer and things might look good for him for a transfer to Bayern Munich after spending time with German midfielder Arturo Vidal. Either way, he’ll be getting watched closely for an indication of what his plans are for next season.
Timo Werner, Forward, RB Leipzig (Germany)
After having an amazing season domestically, the Confederation Cup is a great time for Werner to show off in front of a bigger audience. The 21-year-old forward player is one that should do well in Joachim Low’s young team after scoring 21 league goals in 2017-18. Werner may also want to put recent events behind him, after being booed by his own fans during Germany’s 7-0 win over San Marino.
Tom Rogic, Midfielder, Australia (Celtic)
It’s hard to believe that Australia’s match against Germany at the Confederations Cup last week was Rogic’s first tournament for the Socceroos. He debuted for the national side in 2012 as a teenager, however injuries prevented this midfielder from making the World Cup in Brazil or the Asian Cup in Australia. But this time in Russia, he shines. The 24-year-old was named “Australia’s best player” in the match against Germany after scoring a fine equaliser and having a strong hand in their second goal, winning the free kick and lashing in a strike that led to led to Tomi Juric’s tap-in.
Aleksandr Golovin, Midfielder, Russia (CSKA Moscow)
There’s a sense of hope surrounding Golovin – the CSKA midfielder is one of the only exciting prospects emerging through Russian ranks ahead of the World Cup next year. With the event hosted on home soil, there is a big expectation that the 21-year-old will inspire the nation to outperform already tepid expectations. If he can cope with the pressure, he could be the breakthrough star Russia have sought since Andrey Arshavin.
Andre Silva, Forward, Portugal (Portugal)
Silva is a player with exquisite talent and entertaining to watch. Being a strong fan of the lay-off, the 21-year-old often seeks to link up in triangles with his teammates to exploits packets of action. This forward player is powerful with the ball, his shots strong and guided, and the product nearly always turns into a goal, not to mention he can be a pivotal player in the air. From his 49 national team appearances this season, Silva has yielded 26 goals with 7 assists.
Fabrice Ondoa, Goalkeeper, Cameroon (Barcelona)
This goalie made his major mark during the 2017 African Cup of Nations, in Gabon, where Ondoa was cemented the number one and saved the critical kick from Sadio Mane in the Penalty Shootout, as well being voted into the Team of the Tournament after the Indomitable Lions beat Egypt 2-1 to take home the title. The 21-year-old already has 28 caps to his name and the Confederation Cup could show off what he’s capable of to clubs who are interested in him.
Amin Younes, Forward, Germany (AFC Ajax)
Younes is a standout player in Ajax’s run to the Europa League final. He only made his full international debut ten days ago and scored his first goal in the World Cup qualifying win over San Marino. This 23-year-old likes to operate on the left hand side, and is great in one-on-one situations. The Confederations Cup will give him a place to shine and, it is certain that other clubs will be watching him keenly.
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