The FIFA Confederations Cup may only be 21 years old, but the tournament still boasts an interesting and eventful history. FIFA.com presents some of the most memorable moments from the Festival of Champions.
Saudi Arabia 1992: USA-Saudi Arabia
Al Bishi goes down in history
Just three teams - Argentina, the USA, and Côte d’Ivoire - travelled to Saudi Arabia to compete in the King Fahd Cup, as the competition was originally called. And the first goal in this series of tournaments was not scored by one of the great footballing nations. Fahad Al Bishi tucked away a penalty for Saudi Arabia as the hosts took the lead and went on to win the opening match 3-0 against USA. The Saudis eventually succumbed to La Albiceleste 3-1 in the final.
Saudi Arabia 1995: Denmark-Argentina
Making the best of it
The Danes are rarely among the pre-tournament favourites to win a major international trophy. But Danish Dynamite can never be accused of not making the best of whatever comes to hand. In a surprising twist, they wrested the UEFA European Championship from the hands of overwhelming favourites and reigning world champions Germany in 1992 and were among the top three teams at the Festival of Champions three years later.
With players like brothers Michael and Brian Laudrup, supported by Bjorn Kristensen, Mark Strudal and Peter Rasmussen, the Scandinavians’ golden generation made their mark in the heat of Riad against stiff international competition. In the final, Michael Laudrup (penalty) and Rasmussen scored as the Danes beat Argentina to the title.
Saudi Arabia 1997: Brazil-Australia
‘Ro-Ro’: The hat-trick twins
The final of the third FIFA Confederations Cup between Brazil and Australia seemed set to be tight from the off, as the teams had already met in the group stage and drew 0-0. This made the final result all the more surprising, as A Seleção cantered to a whopping 6-0 victory, with the goals shared between hat-trick heroes Ronaldo and Romario. “We’ve always been a harmonious couple, especially on the football pitch,“ Romario told FIFA.com at the time.
Mexico 1999: Mexico-Brazil
A historic victory
Estadio Azteca is one of the most famous football stadiums in the world and the setting for an array of unforgettable moments in football, from Brazil’s FIFA World Cup™ triumph in 1970 to Diego Maradona’s spectacular solo goal in Argentina’s FIFA World Cup meeting with England 16 years later. Another unforgettable event was added in 1999, when Mexico claimed their first major international honours. A huge 110,000 crowd witnessed the home team edge to a thrilling 4-3 victory against holders Brazil.
Korea/Japan 2001: France-Brazil
History repeats itself
The Spanish are to football today what the French were to football around the millennium, as Les Bleus became world champions in 1998, European champions in 2000, and winners of the Festival of Champions in 2001. But before claiming the third trophy, France were up against Brazil in the semi-finals in a re-run of the FIFA World Cup Final three years earlier. Repeating their success in Paris, the Europeans won 2-1 in Suwon, this time without 1998 heroes such as Fabien Barthez or Zinedine Zidane.
France 2003: Brazil-Turkey
World champions ousted
Turkey emerged as the surprise package of this intriguing tournament. With several established players injured or unavailable, coach Senol Gunes blooded a number of up-and-coming youngsters at the tournament, with most observers predicting the Turks would be too inexperienced to pose a threat.
But inspired by a huge, colourful and vocal band of travelling fans, Turkey proved they were capable of first-class football in a series of eventful matches. After a victory over USA and a reverse against Cameroon, Gunes’ side faced a rematch with Brazil, a chance of revenge after two defeats at Korea/Japan 2002. Turkey drew 2-2 with the South Americans, sending the world champions tumbling out of the tournament.
France 2003: France-Turkey
Tragedy unites the footballing world
There are many opinions as to the greatest moment in the history of the FIFA Confederations Cup, but everyone agrees the 26th of June 2003 was its darkest hour. The death of Marc-Vivien Foe, who collapsed during the Cameroon-Colombia semi-final, was a shock to the world of football and overshadowed the remainder of the tournament. This tragic event resulted in a show of solidarity from the hosts, who would go on to win the tournament.
Many French players, whose own semi-final took place mere hours after the tragic events in Lyon, knew Foe from his time in Ligue 1. After Thierry Henry scored the first goal of a 3-2 victory against Turkey, the team commemorated their deceased colleague and friend by pointing to the heavens.
Following a subdued celebration of the 1-0 victory in the final, French captain Marcel Desailly called on Rigobert Song, his Cameroon counterpart, to participate in the trophy presentation ceremony. The teams then gathered in front of a specially created memorial poster of their lost comrade and fellow professional.
Germany 2005: Argentina-Brazil
Fans defy the rain
The final of the FIFA Confederations Cup 2005 was the highlight of a tournament which successfully paved the way for a colourful festival of football at the FIFA World Cup the following year. The Brazilians again showed exceptional class in a 4-1 victory over arch-rivals Argentina, although at first it looked as if their biggest win in 37 years over their neighbours might be spoiled by the rain, as torrential rain soaked the pitch and the stands. Less loyal fans might have run for cover and deserted their team, but not the South American contingent, who stayed where they were until long after the match to express their appreciation for both teams.
South Africa 2009: Iraq-New Zealand
A point for the record books
Despite their early elimination in 2009, New Zealand enjoyed moments of success too. A goalless draw against Iraq provided New Zealand’s senior national team with their first point in their 12th match at a FIFA tournament.
South Africa 2009: USA-Brazil
Brazilians rediscover lost virtue
Prior to kick-off, the final of the Festival of Champions in Johannesburg looked a Goliath versus David affair, with two-time winners and favourites Brazil taking on underdogs USA. But after a sensational first half the Stars and Stripes led 2-0, and with better finishing, it could even have been more.
However, the favourites came out for the second half with fire in their bellies, and rediscovered the habit of coming from behind to win. In previous matches under coach Dunga, Brazil had been two goals in arrears four times, going on to lose all four games. On this occasion, A Seleção turned the game on its head and triumphed 3-2.