For the past three weeks, South Africa has provided the stage for a spectacular tournament full of memorable goals and highly entertaining football. Indeed, the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 produced a more than capable host nation, a surprisingly strong USA squad and a dazzling Brazilian line-up which deservedly defended its title. The cheerful, energetic crowds were treated to some top-quality matches and created a wonderful atmosphere to ensure this year's edition was a true Festival of Champions.
However, not only fans who made it to South Africa stadia were able to get a taste of the dress rehearsal for next summer's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. FIFA.com users were just as captivated by the FIFA Confederations Cup as thousands of online enthusiasts fervently discussed who they thought should make the ‘Team of the Tournament' in the ‘Have your Say' section of the site. Here are the results:
Between the sticks, US goalkeeper Tim Howard pipped Egyptian shot-stopper Essam El Hadary by a whisker. The newly-crowned adidas Golden Glove winner of course had the advantage that he and his American team-mates made it to the final, where the Everton man reminded us that the land of baseball and basketball is also capable of producing world-class footballers.
Our users' choice central-defensive pairing consists of the experienced Lucio and Carles Puyol, who are flanked by the attack-minded Maicon and Joan Capdevila at right and left-back respectively. Tournament-winning goalscorer Lucio also won the Castrol Index Top 11, which can be viewed by clicking the link on the right-hand side of this page.
As expected, Kaka takes centre stage in a three-man midfield after picking up the adidas Golden Ball as the tournament's best player. Supporting the Real Madrid star in the middle is Egyptian playmaker Mohamed Aboutrika, who won the adulation of fans with some outstanding performances in South Africa. Completing the trio is American Clint Dempsey, who often made the difference with his incisive attacking play. The Fulham man was duly awarded with the adidas Bronze Ball for his three tournament goals
Three truly world-class marksmen form our users' Team of the Tournament strikeforce. Brazilian hitman Luis Fabiano, who won the adidas Golden Shoe with five goals, is joined in a 'dream attack' by Spanish duo Fernando Torres and David Villa, who themselves managed three strikes apiece to bag the Silver and Bronze Shoes respectively.
Two South Africans who narrowly missed out on the Team of the Tournament following some impressive performances at the Festival of Champions were central defender Matthew Booth and midfield fulcrum Steven Pienaar. Of course for these two, as well as all the other stars who missed out on our users' Top 11 this time around, there will be an even bigger chance to shine next summer at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.