Despite not being the most important of tournament, the favorites to win the Confederations Cup in 2013, a preparation drill for the World Cup in Brazil in 12 months, are all sending their strongest squads. The champions and host nation, Brazil, play in Group A with Japan, Mexico and Italy. In Group B, world and European champions Spain play with Uruguay, Tahiti and Nigeria.
Favorites to win? Spain are probably it, although this tournament doesn’t always come out with the most predictable of results. Brazil did win in 2009, but only after coming back from two goals down to beat the United States, who stunned Spain in the semifinal. Italy, Uruguay and Mexico probably see themselves as legitimate contenders as well.
The host nation is under a lot of pressure to succeed in the tournament, which usually doesn’t mean much, because of their disappointing results in the friendly matches leading up the World Cup. Brazil last hosted the tournament in 1950, finishing second in the final group after losing to Uruguay. Another failure at home won’t be easy to swallow.
Goalkeepers – Jefferson (Botafogo), Júlio César (QPR), Diego Cavalieri (Fluminense).
Defenders – Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Thiago Silva (PSG), David Luiz (Chelsea), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Dante ( Bayern Munich), Filipe Luís (Atletico Madrid), Réver (Atletico Mineiro).
Midfielders – Fernando (Gremio), Lucas Moura (PSG), Hernanes (Lazio), Oscar (Chelsea), Jean (Fluminense), Luiz Gustavo (Bayern Munich), Paulinho (Corinthians), Bernard (Atletico Mineiro), Jádson (Sao Paulo).
Forwards – Fred (Fluminense), Neymar (Barcelona), Hulk (Zenit), Jo (Atletico Mineiro).
Japan made it thanks to winning the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, making it into the tournament for a fifth time. Co-Hosting the tournament in 2001 was also their best finish as runners-up.
Goalkeepers – Eiji Kawashima (Standard), Shusaku Nishikawa (Sanfrecce), Shūichi Gonda (FC Tokyo).
Defenders – Masahiko Inoha (Jubilo), Gōtoku Sakai (Stuttgart), Yuto Nagatomo (Internazionale), Atsuto Uchida (Schalke), Yasuyuki Konno (Gamba Osaka), Yuzo Kurihara (Yokahama F. Marinos), Hiroki Sakai (Hannover), Maya Yoshida (Southampton).
Midfielders – Keisuke Honda (CSKA Moscow), Yasuhito Endō (Gamba Osaka), Hajime Hosogai (Leverkusen), Kengo Nakamura (Kawasaki Frontale), Makoto Hasebe (Wolfsburg), Hideto Takahashi (FC Tokyo).
Forwards – Hiroshi Kiyotake (Nurnberg), Shinji Okazaki (Stuttgart), Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United), Mike Havenaar (Vitesse), Ryōichi Maeda (Jubilo), Takashi Inui (Frankfurt).
Mexico, slightly struggling in their bid to make the 2014 World Cup compared to their usual ease of qualifying through the Concacaf group stages are in the tournament for a fifth time after winning the 2011 Gold Cup. They won the tournament in 1999 when they hosted it.
Goalkeepers – Guillermo Ochoa (Ajaccio), José de Jesús Corona (Cruz Azul), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca).
Defenders – Francisco Javier Rodríguez (America), Carlos Salcido (UANL), Diego Reyes (America), Severo Meza (Monterrey), Héctor Moreno (Espanyol), Jorge Torres Nilo (UANL), Hiram Mier (Monterrey), Gerardo Flores (Cruz Azul).
Midfielders – Jesús Molina (America), Gerardo Torrado (Cruz Azul), Pablo Barrera (Cruz Azul), Ángel Reyna (Pachuca), Javier Aquino (Villarreal), Héctor Herrera (Pachuca), Jesús Zavala (Monterrey), Andrés Guardado (Valencia).
Forwards – Aldo de Nigris (Monterrey), Giovani Dos Santos (Mallorca), Javier Hernandez (Manchester United), Raúl Jiménez (America).
The Italian haven’t won anything over the last four years, but reaching the final of Euro 2012 is enough to make it in these days, especially when the team you lose to are also the world champions, Spain. It’s their second time in the tournament, not making it out of the group stage in 2009.
Goalkeepers – Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Salvatore Sirigu (PSG), Federico Marchetti (Lazio).
Defenders – Christian Maggio (Napoli), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Davide Astori (Cagliari), Mattia De Sciglio (AC Milan), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Ignazio Abate (AC Milan).
Midfielders – Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Alberto Aquilani (Fiorentina), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Riccardo Montolivo (AC Milan), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Emanuele Giaccherini (Juventus), Alessandro Diamanti (Bologna).
Forwards – Mario Balotelli (AC Milan), Sebastian Giovinco (Juventus), Alberto Gilardino (Bologna), Stephan El Shaarawy (AC Milan), Alessio Cerci (Torino).
The world and European champions make it to the tournament for a second consecutive time, finishing third in 2009, losing in the semifinal to the United States in a stunning 2-0 American victory.
Goalkeepers – Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Víctor Valdés (Barcelona), Pepe Reina (Liverpool).
Defenders – Raúl Albiol (Real Madrid), Gerard Piqué (Barcelona), César Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Álvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Nacho Monreal (Arsenal).
Midfielders – Javi Martínez (Bayern Munich), Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona), Xavi Hernández (Barcelona), Cesc Fàbregas (Barcelona), Juan Mata (Chelsea), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), David Silva (Manchester City), Jesús Navas (Manchester City).
Forwards – David Villa (Barcelona), Fernando Torres( Chelsea), Pedro Rodríguez (Barcelona), Roberto Soldado (Valencia).
The strongest South American team over the last three years, or until the World Cup qualifiers began. Uruguay won the Copa America in 2011, earning their second bid to the Confederations Cup, their previous visit being in 1997, when they finished 4th.
Goalkeepers – Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray), Juan Castillo (Danubio), Martín Silva (Olimpia).
Defenders – Diego Lugano (Malaga), Diego Godín (Atletico Madrid), Sebastián Coates (Liverpool), Matías Aguirregaray (Penarol), Maxi Pereira (Benfica), Andrés Scotti (Nacional), Martín Cáceres (Juventus).
Midfielders – Walter Gargano (Internazionale), Álvaro Pereira (Internazionale), Cristian Rodríguez (Atletico Madrid), Sebastián Eguren (Libertad), Nicolás Lodeiro (Botafogo), Diego Perez (Bologna), Egidio Arévalo Ríos (Palermo), Gastón Ramírez (Southampton), Álvaro González (Lazio).
Forwards – Luis Suárez (Liverpool), Diego Forlán (Internacional), Abel Hernández (Palermo), Edinson Cavani (Napoli).
The shocking winners of the 2012 OFC Nations Cup, it is their first ever visit to the Confederations Cup. They have only one player who plays in Europe.
Defenders – Teheivarii Ludivion (Tefana), Tamatoa Wagemann (Dragon), Stephane Faatiarau (Tefana), Nicolas Vallar (Dragon), Edson Lemaire (Dragon), Rainui Aroita (Tamarii), Vincent Simon (Dragon), Yannick Vero (Dragon).
Midfielders – Alvin Tehau (Tefana), Henri Caroine (Dragon), Heimano Bourebare (Tefana), Stanley Atani (Tefana), Lorenzo Tehau (Tefana), Ricky Aitamai (Venus), Jonathan Tehau (Tamarii), Yohann Tihoni (Roniu).
It took Nigeria 19 years to finally win another African Cup of Nations trophy, usually torn by inner battles among players, coaches and the FA that helps them underachieve most of the time. It’s their second visit to the tournament, finishing fourth in 1995.
Goalkeepers – Vincent Enyeama (Lille), Austin Ejide (Hapoel Be’er Sheva), Chigozie Agbim (Enugu Rangers).
Defenders – Godfrey Oboabona (Sunshine Stars), Uwa Elderson Echiéjilé (Braga), Efe Ambrose (Celtic), Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri), Solomon Kwambe (Sunshine), Francis Benjamin (Heartland), Kenneth Omeruo (ADO).
Midfielders – John Ugochukwu (Academica), Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow), Mikel John Obi (Chelsea), Fegor Ogude (Valerenga), Michel Babatunde (Kryvbas), Ogenyi Onazi (Lazio), Emeka Eze (Enugu Rangers), Sunday Mba (Warri), Nnamdi Oduamadi (Varese).
Forwards – Brown Ideye (Dynamo Kyiv), Joseph Akpala (Werder Bremen), Mohammed Gambo (Kano), Anthony Ujah (FC Koln).