With Brazil, Spain, Uruguay, Mexico and the yet-to-be-crowned UEFA EURO 2012 winners all set to take part, the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 is sure to live up to its billing as the Festival of Champions. And if the European rulers turn out to Germany, France, England or Italy, the competition will bring together four former FIFA World Cup™ winners for the first time ever.
Whether that becomes the case or not, Brazil 2013 will still be the first time the FIFA Confederations Cup is held across six different stadiums within the same country. This will both be a competition record and a huge test for Brazil who, come 2014, are scheduled to host a second FIFA World Cup finals – 64 years on from their first.
Adding further spice to the mix is the fact that the 2013 showpiece could throw up repeats of a number of games that have left an indelible mark on football history, as we will now reveal:
– Uruguay 2-2 Spain, first matchday of the final phase of the 1950 FIFA World Cup. This encounter in Sao Paulo’s Pacaembu stadium pitted Brazil’s two main challengers for that year’s global title against each other. Los Charrúas struck first but La Roja battled back to equalise and subsequently take the lead, only for the defiant Uruguayans to level the scores once more. This result handed Brazil a vital edge come the final matchday of the final phase, where a draw would have been enough to crown the hosts world champions. There are those who say this scenario was a decisive factor in said finale, as it resulted in the alleged overconfidence in the Brazilian camp.
– Brazil 1-2 Uruguay, final match of the final phase of Brazil 1950. There is no doubt this is the best-remembered of these encounters. On 16 July that year, everything looked to be going the way of A Seleção: they were playing at home; over 173,000 spectators had flooded in to the Maracana expecting to see their heroes lift the Trophy for the very first time, and they only needed a draw to claim the title. The hosts even opened the scoring, yet their Uruguayan opponents refused to bow to these weighty odds and fought back to win 2-1, thus inflicting what is known as Brazil’s most painful defeat of all time.
– Brazil 2-1 Spain, 1962 FIFA World Cup, final matchday of first phase. Brazil, then the reigning world champions, were without the injured Pele while rivals Spain had Alfredo Di Stefano in their side. The game’s turning point came in the second period, with the Iberians leading 1-0. Forward Enrique Collar broke into the box and was brought down by Brazil's Nilton Santos, only for the defender to casually take a couple of steps forward to stand outside the area. The ruse worked a charm, with referee Sergio Bustamante thus awarding the outraged Spaniards a free-kick rather than a penalty. A Seleção eventually won the match 2-1 and went on to claim the Trophy once more a few days later.
– Mexico 4-3 Brazil, FIFA Confederations Cup 1999. Both the altitude and the fervour of the local fans in Mexico City gave the hosts an edge in the build-up, despite the pedigree of their Brazilian opponents. The home side did not disappoint and roared into a 2-0 lead, though A Canarinha were back on level terms shortly after the start of the second period. Not to be deterred, Miguel Zepeda and Cuauhtemoc Blanco re-established El Tri’s two-goal cushion, with the Mexicans managing to hold on for the win despite Ze Roberto having reduced the deficit soon after Blanco’s strike. This thrilling decider was Mexico’s first triumph in this prestigious competition
– Uruguay 1-2 Mexico, 2001 Copa America semi-final. Though reaching this stage was already a success for the Mexicans, they were determined to continue their progress and reach the competition’s final for the first time – where hosts Colombia awaited. This semi was one of the best games of this tournament and proved a victory for football and sport against violence, given the event came close to not being held due to the problems in Colombia at the time. Jared Borgetti opened the scoring for Mexico, Richard Morales levelled for La Celeste and a penalty from Alberto Garcia Aspe sent El Tri into the final.
– Spain 8-0 Tahiti, group phase of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Egypt 2009. It was not the emphatic scoreline that made this a historic game, instead it was the fact that it marked Tahiti’s debut outing at a FIFA competition. Referee Mohamed Benouza’s whistle at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo on 25 September 2009 thus started the ball rolling for the Tahitians, who as newly crowned OFC champions could find themselves facing Spain once more come Brazil 2013.