The 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup tournament, a preview of the 2010 World Cup championship, starts June 14 with two matches to be played by the teams in Group A.
Iraq and South Africa play at 2 p.m. in Johannesburg, and Spain faces New Zealand at 6:30 p.m. in Royal Bafokeng Stadium in the northern city of Rustenburg.
The "Sons of Mesopotamia" Iraqi team face a major challenge at Ellis Park Stadium in the capital of Johannesburg, squaring off against host South Africa, who will enjoy the support of many fans and will have home-field advantage. Apparently Brazilian technical manager for South Africa Joel Santana will rely on the 3-3-4 method in offence and 1-5-4 in defence, while Serbian Bora Milutinović's plan is unknown, but he could play using the 2-4-4 method.
The Iraqi national team seek victory to please the people of Iraq, who are eagerly awaiting the champions of Asia to achieve honourable results for both Asian and Arab football.
On June 15, Egypt meet Brazil in Group B at 2 p.m. at Free State Stadium in the city of Bloemfontein.
The Egyptian national team enters the match under great pressure because of their 1-3 loss to Algeria in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers. That diminished the morale of "The Pharaohs" in the run up to their collision with Brazil’s “magicians” who are the holders of the 2005 Confederations Cup title.
In the other match to be held in the same group, Italy (the 2006 World Cup champions) play against the U.S. (Central America, North America and Caribbean Union [CONCACAF] champions) in Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria.
The teams that place first and second in each group qualify for the semi-finals round, which is to be played criss-cross style (first in Group A versus second in Group B and first in Group B versus second in Group A) on June 24. On June 29, the two losers will play for third place, while the two winners will play for the title.
Source: Al-Shorfa Website Correspondent