It was only a couple of posts ago that I found myself whining about the lack of decent football activity during the summer, and that this was the perfect time to take a break and recharge the batteries.

Well don't you listen to a single word. Pah! All utter nonsense because today sees the start of the Confederations Cup and there is definitely some interest to be had here. Sixteen matches over 15 days, involving some of the world's top countries (with a few minnows thrown-in for good measure) and, listening to the players and managers being interviewed, it's easy to see how seriously everyone is taking this. This is the major practice competition before the World Cup next year, and all the teams involved want to win.

For Brazil, of course, it's also a double practice run for them. They can test out their grounds and their infrastructure ahead of the real thing. Interestingly, goal-line technology is also being used in this competition, so it will be intriguing to see how that fares.

So, what do we have? Well, these are the teams involved and, for good measure, I've also plonked their World Elo Ranking alongside too:

  • Spain (1)
  • Brazil (3)
  • Italy (8)
  • Mexico (11)
  • Uruguay (17)
  • Japan (25)
  • Nigeria (34)
  • Tahiti (141)

As you can see, there is really only one whipping-boy in the whole competition, with a decent spread of opposition amongst the rest. Brazil, as the hosts, and Spain (who have chosen a very strong squad) are the obvious candidates to win the whole thing - but Uruguay, the South American Champions look interesting to me.

Of course Uruguay have Mr I'm-very-hungry-so-do-you-mind-if-I-take-a-chunk-out-of-your-arm Suarez in the team, and they also have Edinson Cavani, who apparently every team in the world is going to sign this summer. Anyway, they look like dangerous opponents. They play their first match on Sunday against Spain, and I'm expecting that to be well worth watching. Spain beat them in February 3-1 but their recent form has been good.

Next, you could also consider Japan, who can boast some really decent attacking talent and Nigeria (the African Cup of Nations Champions) to upset the apple cart in a couple of matches. Japan play today against the hosts Brazil, whilst Nigeria will be hoping to get a decent start when the play Tahiti on Monday.

The winners odds are shown below for your interest. But my advice is to get involved. Don't be a wanker and take time off during the summer. Whoever came up with that stupid idea should be shot at dawn!

Incidentally, 188 have a small promotion on the Confederations Cup, which should help: