The FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 in South Africa has captured the imagination of football fans from all over the world. During the tournament, FIFA.com users have been discussing who they think will lift the coveted trophy on 28 July in Johannesburg when the 'Festival of Champions' draws to a close.
Over 1,000 comments were posted on the English version of FIFA's website, with one user, davidvh from New Zealand, offering this prediction for the decider: "South Africa will play Spain in the final and beat them 2-1 after extra time. Steven Pienaar is going to swing over a cross two minutes before the end for Bernard Parker to head home the winner."
atuonwu from England has no preference as to who wins the tournament, as long as the fundamental values of the game prevail: "I'm no prophet, but I'm absolutely sure of one thing - football will be the real winner. It's not the winning, it's the taking part that counts - that and the fair play and commitment shown by the players. Whoever lifts the trophy, it's going to be a wonderful tournament full of action and the true winner will be the football."
Spain and Brazil are clearly the front-runners to secure the title in the eyes of our Spanish-speaking users. Indeed, RicardoESP03 has no doubts that La Roja will do his home nation proud: "Spain are playing very well at the moment and they've developed a winning mentality since their victory at the European Championships last year. They have a team full of stars including David Villa and Fernando Torres, as well as Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Silva and Cesc Fabregas, so they're bound to win it!"
EDSONBONASSA was equally patriotic in his support of the most successful nation in FIFA World Cup™ history: "Brazil will win it because they have the best players. They've played in this tournament plenty of times before, while Spain are taking part for the first time. For that reason, I think Brazil will outshine the European champions," wrote the Seleção fan.
The FIFA Confederations Cup has also been a hot topic of conversation on the German site, where the Iberians and the South Americans once again prevail as the most highly-rated teams among our users. With his home nation not involved, Karlsruhe37 from Germany was willing to begrudge the Brazilians a win this year: "Brazil can win the Confederations Cup, as long as they don't win the World Cup next year."
Conversely, plenty of fans were of the opinion that the fluidity of the Spanish passing game would see Vicente del Bosque's charges collect the trophy at the first attempt: "Spain will win, of course, beating Brazil in the final. They have the best players and their one-touch football will be too much for the other sides to deal with," wrote Costaz from Switzerland. Meanwhile, DiggerElch_7 from Australia agreed that the Spaniards are still the team to beat: "I think Spain will win because they're playing so well at the moment and they haven't lost a game since November 2006!"
"Although I'm a fan of the Brazilian national team, I think that Spain will extend their unbeaten run. I can't see any team stopping the Villa/Torres strike partnership and they have an incredible midfield that boasts the likes of Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Fabregas and Silva. Furthermore, even the best attacking teams will struggle to penetrate the defence of Capdevila, Marchena, Puyol and Albiol, and then there's Iker Casillas in goal who's always tough to beat," claimed Danovich from Côte d'Ivoire on the French-speaking site.
The tournament has also been eagerly discussed on FIFA's recently launched Arabic homepage. User 0128027343 believes that Brazil will fend off the Spanish to successfully defend the trophy they won in Germany four years ago: "Brazil will win it. They were almost humiliated by Egypt in the group stage, so they'll want to have another crack at them in the final", a comment clearly posted before Egypt's dissapointing group elimination.
It seems that the general consensus among the FIFA.com users is that the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 will be a two-horse race between the five-time FIFA World Cup winners and the reigning European champions. The hosts, South Africa, have been tipped from some quarters as dark horses, although very few fans are backing the remaining semi-finalists, USA, to progress any further.
Keep track of all the action from the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 and get involved by discussing who you think will triumph in South Africa with thousands of other fans from around the globe.
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