Confeds classics whet the appetite
The FIFA Confederations Cup is firmly established as a fascinating fixture on the international calendar, and with the likes of Spain, Brazil and Italy set to descend on South Africa next month, the tournament's eighth edition could be the best yet.
However, the forthcoming tournament certainly has a lot to live up to, with stars such as Romario, Michael Laudrup, Cauhetemoc Blanco and Thierry Henry having illuminated some truly spectacular past battles. Here, FIFA.com looks back at some of the memorable matches that have set the standard for South Africa 2009.
13 January 1995, King Fahd International Stadium, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Denmark 2-0 Argentina
Argentina, who had comfortably secured the title in the tournament's modest, four-team inaugural edition in 1992, returned to Saudi Arabia justifiably confident of retaining the trophy. In Denmark, however, the Albiceleste met a team determined to prove that their shock European conquest three years earlier had been no fluke. And sure enough, having successfully subdued Gabriel Batistuta and Ariel Ortega, the Danes strengthened their giant-killing reputation with a well-deserved 2-0 win in which Michael Laudrup and Peter Rasmussen scored the vital goals.
21 December 1997, King Fahd International Stadium, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Brazil 6-0 Australia
This one-sided final witnessed Brazil at their brilliant, irresistible best. Australia, who had beaten Mexico and Uruguay en route and held A Seleção goalless during the group stage, found themselves cast in the role of hapless victims as Romario and Ronaldo ran riot. With player of the tournament Denilson tormenting the Socceroos defence, Brazil's prolific pair managed to grab a hat-trick apiece, and Romario's tournament haul of seven remains a FIFA Confederations Cup record.
4 August 1999, Azteca, Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico 4-3 Brazil
After three editions on Saudi soil, the newly-expanded FIFA Confederations Cup took to the road for the first time and found the warmest of welcomes in Mexico. With average crowds in excess of 60,000, the onus was on the hosts to rise to the occasion - and they did so in spectacular style. Gambling on a swashbuckling 3-4-3 formation, Manuel Lapuente led his side to the top of their section and on to a memorable semi-final win over USA after extra time. However, it was in the final - against a Brazil side who had put eight goals past Saudi Arabia in the last four - that El Tri made history, with goals from Miguel Zepeda (2), Jose Manuel Abundis and the outstanding Cauhtemoc Blanco settling a seven-goal thriller in front of 110,000 ecstatic fans.
7 June 2001, Suwon World Cup Stadium, Suwon, Korea Republic
France 2-1 Brazil
The 2001 edition began - and ended - with France on top of the world. Even without Messrs Zidane and Henry, the European and world champions secured their third successive major championship thanks largely to some sparkling individual performances from adidas Golden Ball and Golden Shoe winner Robert Pires. A solitary Patrick Vieira goal settled a tense final with Japan, but it was in their semi-final - a rematch of the previous FIFA World Cup™ final - that Les Bleus claimed their most memorable victory. Fittingly, it was Pires who lit the touch-paper with a spectacular 25-yard volley, and though a superb Ramon free-kick restored parity on the half-hour mark, Marcel Desailly charged in to head home a deserved winner nine minutes into the second half.
26 June 2003, Stade de France, Saint-Denis, France
France 3-2 Turkey
A year on from the crushing disappointment of Korea/Japan 2002, home comforts brought France back to winning ways. This, however, was to be a tournament remembered not for the goals and skills of players such as Henry, Ronaldinho, Shunsuke Nakamura and Tuncay Sanli, but for the tragic passing of Marc Vivien-Foe. France took to the field for this semi-final against Turkey little over an hour after receiving news of the Cameroonian's passing and, in a match laced with emotion, celebrated Henry's opener by pointing to the sky in tribute. Further goals from Pires and Sylvain Wiltord eventually put paid to the Turks' brave resistance, and Les Bleus would go on to display their compassionate side again in the final, when Desailly called over the beaten Cameroonian captain Rigobert Song to help lift the trophy.
25 June 2005, Frankenstadion, Nuremberg, Germany
Germany 2-3 Brazil
The 2005 edition provided a tantalising taste of what was to come at the following year's FIFA World Cup, with a carnival atmosphere accompanied by some football of the highest calibre. Much of the thrills and spills came from hosts Germany, the tournament's highest scorers with 15 goals, and hopes were high that revenge could be exacted on Brazil in this rematch of the 2002 Final. However, in Adriano, Jurgen Klinsmann's side came up against the tournament's outstanding player. The Inter Milan striker, who went on to grab a double in the 4-1 final win over Argentina, was in unstoppable form, and although the Germans twice came from behind twice through Lukas Podolski and a Michael Ballack penalty, O Imperador followed up his first goal - the 250th in the tournament's history - by settling this enthralling encounter with 14 minutes remaining.
Have Your Say
These, of course, are just a few of the thrilling matches to have been served up at the FIFA Confederations Cup over the years. If you have any special memories of these or any other games at the Festival of Champions, just click 'Add your comment' to share them with the world.
- Germany 2005: Wonderful tournament whets appetite for the main event »
- FIFA Confederations Cup France 2003, France retain crown in tournament hit by tragedy »
- Korea/Japan 2001: French masterclass in the East »
- Mexico 1999: Home is where the trophy is »
- Saudi Arabia 1997: Brazil burn bright »
- Saudi Arabia 1995: Denmark come in from the cold »
- Saudi Arabia 1992: Argentina get the ball rolling »
- Gabriel BATISTUTA »
- Ariel ORTEGA »
- Michael LAUDRUP »
- Peter RASMUSSEN »
- RONALDO »
- ROMÁRIO (Romário de Souza Faria) »
- DENILSON »
- Jose Manuel ABUNDIS »
- Miguel ZEPEDA »
- Cuauhtemoc BLANCO »
- Robert PIRES »
- Marcel DESAILLY »
- Shunsuke NAKAMURA »
- Thierry HENRY »
- RONALDINHO »
- Tuncay SANLI »
- Marc-Vivien FOE »
- Lukas PODOLSKI »
- Michael BALLACK »
- ADRIANO »