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FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 - How It Works

Ozzie has been a Volunteer with the
Orlando City Soccer Club, and the 1994 World Cup

2017 FIFA Confederations Cup

How The FIFA Confederations Cup® Works
A brief explaination

Soccer at the International level is administered by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). Soccer does not have "rules", but instead has "The Laws Of The Game". And while I'm referring to "Soccer" here, be aware that in the wider world outside the United States, this game is called "Football".

There are only FOUR types of soccer matches. Qualifiers, where the the National Teams of each FIFA Member State are qualifying for the World Cup (or a regional Tournament), "Friendlies", which are "training matches" where the National Teams train by playing matches against each other, and Other tournaments, of which the Confederations Cup is one, and most important of all, the World Cup matches. Getting into the Olympic Football tournament is not considered as important as getting into the World Cup. Olympic teams are made up of the Under 20's, after all, Not the full National Teams. It's actually a little more complicated than that, but it's the basics you need to know right now.

8 nations have qualified to be in the Fifa Confederations Cup. They are broken up into 2 groups of 4 teams each. In the 1st Round, each team plays the other three teams in it's group twice (once as the designated "Home Team", and once as "away"), so every team plays at least 6 matches in the Confederations Cup. A win is worth 3 points, a tie is worth 1 point, and a loss is worth 0 points. The points are added up, and the top two teams in each group goes on to the 2nd Round.

If there is a tie for 2nd place, then the number of goals scored are compared, and a 2nd place team is determined. Third place teams play a "knock Out Round" to see who can move on to the Round Of 16. It's all laid out in The Laws Of The Game. There is a complicated method of determining the Third Place team within a Group, but in tournments of this size, the third place teams go on into the Round Of 16, as well as the first and second place teams of the Group.

At the end of the First Round, the teams play their matches at the same time. The last points needed to advance to the Second Round can go back & forth during those matches as teams score goals, changing the possible outcomes.

If you're looking at one of the printed schedules of the 2nd round matches, the teams are represented by a number and a letter until the top two teams of each group are determined, and the designators can be replaced by the official three letter country code. 1A refers to the 1 place team in Group A, while 2B refers to the 2nd place team in Group B. This allows the schedule to be released two years in advance of the tournament. The second round matches with multiple letters will have get their teams "trimmed down" as the matches play out.


While the Confederatinon's Cup is a training ground for the Host Nation for putting on the FIFA World Cup the following year, things really get under way in December 2017. For the year previous, World Cup Qualifying matches have been taking place within the Conferations that make up FIFA. The last team will be decided within a week or so of the Final Draw to be held in The Kremlin of the host nation, Russia. In this glitzy media circus that will be televised world wide, the names of the nations that have qualified to play in the World Cup are put into fish bowls, and drawn to be in one of eight Groups, A through H.

By tradition, the host nation will be team 1 in Group A. It will then be team A1 throughout the Group play. FIFA will decide before the Draw what nations will be the top seeded teams (Team 1) in the other seven groups (B1, C1, etc). Then soccer celebrities will be called upon to draw out the 'ping pong balls' that contain the strips of paper with the names of the qualifying nations, and as they are drawn from the fish bowls, the names are filled in on the list of Groups, until all 32 nations have been assigned a group. Following Group play, the team with the most points in Group A will then be knwon as Team A1, and the second place team, A2. These are the designations of teams on the match schedule that has been floating around the soccer world for the two years previous to the opening match. As the group play decides which teams will go through to the second round of the tournament, the A1 and A2 designations will be replaced witht the three letter Country Code of the corresponding team.

How the USA got through to the Second Round in Brazil

In Group G of World Cup Brazil 2014, the USA and Portugal wound up tied at 4 points each. The thing is, The USA was ahead on "Points Diferential", the next criterea for determining in going forward to the "Knockout Round". Both teams had scored 4 goals in their matches, but Portugal had 7 goals scored against them, and that's how the USA went ahead.

Why we support International Soccer

Ozzie Osband, the fellow behind PHonePHriendly.Com, was a volunteer at the Citrus Bowl, a World Cup venue during World Cup USA 1994®. Ozzie knows what the World Cup means to the rest of the world, and is happy that Soccer is one area where the USA joins the rest of the world in something.

When not watching soccer on the International level, Ozzie provides a PHone PHriendly schedule of the Orlando City Soccer Club in Major League Soccer.

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Ozzie@PHonePHriendly.Com was a Volunteer at World Cup 1994 USA, and has followed the US Men's National Team ever since.

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