Germany to face Chile at Confederations Cup
World Cup winner Germany will play South American champion Chile in the group stage of next year’s Confederations Cup.
The Germans will also take on Australia and the African champion, to be determined in February, in Group B.
European champion Portugal will face hosts Russia in Group A, along with Mexico and New Zealand. Russia will play New Zealand in the opening game in St. Petersburg.
The tournament runs from June 17 to July 2 next year in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan and Sochi, and is a warmup event for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. It’s a key test for some of the trickier areas of Russia’s preparations, including the costly and much delayed 69,000-seat St. Petersburg stadium. The Confederations Cup’s future after 2017 is uncertain, with FIFA president Gianni Infantino saying earlier yesterday that the format could be changed and “we are putting everything on the table.”
That’s because the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be held in November and December, meaning the Confederations Cup would cause severe disruption to the club calendar if held in its traditional slot a year before the bigger tournament. Infantino said FIFA officials are discussing questions such as “Shall we play it in June? Shall we play it in November? Shall we think about the format?”
Last year, then-FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said the 2021 tournament would be moved from Qatar and played elsewhere in Asia. The Confederations Cup features many of the best teams in world football - with FIFA’s six continental champions, plus the World Cup holder and the following year’s World Cup host. But it has struggled to build a distinct identity beyond being simply a test event for a larger tournament.
Germany coach Joachim Loew plans to leave out some of the World Cup holder’s established players to focus on youth at next year’s tournament in Russia, but Infantino insisted that didn’t devalue the competition.
“I’m sure that Joachim Loew and his team ... they take the Confederations Cup very, very seriously,” Infantino said. —AP