All eyes on Confederations Cup

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> The Confederations Cup kicks off in Germany on Wednesday with the world's top eight teams.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:52 IST
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The Confederations Cup, held every two years as a precursor to every major football championship, kicks off in Germany on Wednesday with the world's top eight teams. Brazil, the 1997 Confederations Cup winners, will start the tournament as favourites, though they come off a 3-1 loss to Argentina in the World Cup qualifiers. The team will be without Ronaldo again, with free kick specialist Roberto Carlos missing as well. However, the Samba boys are never short on talent. Eagerly awaited
Confederations Cup
Group A
Germany (Hosts)
Argentina (2004 Olympic champions)
Australia (Oceania champions)
Tunisia (African champions)
One team that will be waiting to eagerly kick-off their campaign is Germany. There has been no competitive football for the hosts since their first round exit at Euro 2004. The 15-day tournament, that will see 16 games being played at five venues, will give the Germans the opportunity to prepare for the World Cup which they host in a year's time. Tough challenge
Confederations Cup
Group B
Brazil (World, S American champions)
Greece (European champions)
Japan (Asian champions)
Mexico (Concacaf champions)
The Confederations Cup has two groups, with Group A being the tougher one. Two teams will go through to the semifinals, and most will expect Germany and Argentina to cruise through. However, while Australian football may not be as good as Australian cricket, their team, or the Tunisians, can't be counted out of the contest either. Group B includes the current world and South American champions Brazil, with a neck-to-neck contest expected between Greece, Japan and Mexico for the second spot. Fans' delight Fans can also expect Japan's clash with Brazil to be an emotional one, as Japan are now coached by Zico. The Confederations Cup will undoubtedly be a feast for football fans, but it has also had its fair share of critics since it began in 1992. Many believe it's an unnecessary fixture that puts far too much strain on the players. For now, the tournament also has to live with the painful memories of being the event where Cameroon mid-fielder Marc-Vivien Foe collapsed and died.

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