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Why the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia is worth serious consideration

by Michael Edgley on Dec 19, 2016

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Since the FFA secured entry into the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) the FIFA Confederations Cup has slipped from the radar for many Australian fans.

I’m old enough to remember the pre-AFC days when we were in the midst of our FIFA World Cup curse, brought about by a rogue Mozambique witchdoctor after the 1969 Socceroos refused to pay him for his services in putting the mozz on Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) for a crucial 1970 FIFA World Cup Mexico qualifier. You may or may not believe in the curse, but the reality was the Confed Cup was all pre-AFC Socceroos fans could look forward to. And at the time we loved it.

Australia’s record is solid. Runners up in 1997 with wins over Mexico and Uruguay, 3rd place in 2001 with wins over Mexico, France and Brazil. In 2005 the Frank Farina led Socceroos we were bundled out in the group phase despite a pulsating 4-3 loss to Germany.

The 2017 edition of the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia may be the last in the current format. Thus it presents an interesting opportunity for current day Socceroos fans. Over an ale with some of my working colleagues we ranked the top 8 reasons why Australian fans should sign up to support the Socceroos at the Confed Cup, in Russia, next June and July.

1. 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualification: Despite my supreme confidence that the Socceroos will qualify for 2018 Russia, there is a risk that Australia might miss out. Thus, the Confed Cup is an insurance transaction for those fans who don’t want to miss seeing the Socceroos in Russia.

Even if Australia does qualify for Russia 2018 there is no guarantee that we will play in Moscow or Saint Petersburg, reason enough for me to recommend the Confed Cup.

2. Saint Petersburg: For 2 centuries it was the imperial capital of Russia. Spectacular historic architecture/sites ooze from every corner (Hermitage Museum, Palace Square, St Isaac’s Cathedral, Winter Palace to name but a few) and it is a sight to be seen to be believed. It is quite surreal to think the Socceroos will play the African champions in this magnificent city – I’m not missing that!

3. Revenge on Chile (Moscow): Those of us who were in Cuiaba, Brazil will remember an opportunity lost when we pushed Chile all the way. Had Tim Cahill’s equalising goal not been disallowed our entire 2014 Brazil journey may have been different. It is time to square up with La Roja!

4. The Russian People: Don’t think all Russians are KGB Agents. I found them welcoming, hospitable and fascinating.

5. The Kremlin & Red Square (Moscow): The centre of Russia’s capital is one of the most iconic squares of the world. From here you can visit the Lenin Mausoleum, Saint Basil’s Cathedral & the tomb of the unknown soldier.

6. To be the best we need to beat the best (Sochi): We have a date with World Champions Germany in Sochi, the summer capital of Russia. I have always wanted to see the Black Sea (and the Socceroos knock off Ze Germans in a major competition).

7. Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts (Moscow): Stunning, impressive and spectacular. Bucket list quality, no doubt about it.

8. Russian Cuisine: It often gets a bad wrap, but there is nothing like eating Borsch, Stroganoff, Dumplings (yes Russia has their very own) and smoked fish in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Oh, and it is great value for us Australians thanks to the power of the $AUS!

Checkout the GGArmy's great travel options to the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017