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History of Confederations Cup

Written by Sebastien on 16 February 2013. Posted in Confederations Cup 2013

The Confederations Cup is a tournament for national football teams organized by FIFA. It takes place every four years, one year before the FIFA World Cup. Since 2005 the Confederations Cup is hosted by the country which also hosts the World Cup in the following year. There are eight teams in the competition: six of them are the winners of the six championships organized by FIFA (UEFA – the administrative body for association football in Europe, CONMEBOL – the administrative body in South America, CONCACAF – the administrative body in North America, Central America and Caribbean, CAF – the administrative body in Africa, AFC – the administrative body in Asia and OFC – the administrative body in Oceania), one of them is the winner of the previous World Cup and the eighth is the host country.


The official history of Confederations Cup tournaments as recognized by FIFA starts in 1992. However, some earlier tournaments between football confederations can be considered precursors of this cup. The Mundialito in which former World Cup winners played or the Copa d’Oro which celebrated fifty years of World Cup are just two examples. The Artemio Franchi Trophy which was held in 1985 and 1993 is another example of an early confederation cup because it reunited the UEFA Championship and Copa Americana winners.

The official history of the Confederations Cup tournament began in 1992, even though FIFA only took over the organization in 1997. The first two editions in 1992 and 1995 were held in Saudi Arabia and were known as King Fahd Cup. They were won by Argentina and Denmark. In 1997 when the competition started being organized by FIFA it was also named Confederation Cup. Initially it took place every two years. In 2005 FIFA decided to only hold it every four years, in the year preceding the World Cup. In fact, the Confederation Cup is seen as a rehearsal for the world tournament. It gives the hosting country a chance to accumulate some experience and to use some of the stadiums built or renovated for the World Cup. Also starting with 2005 the participation of South American and European champions became optional.

As mentioned, the six continental champions, the World Cup winner and the host country are allowed to participate in the Confederation Cup. In case a country meets more than one criterion for qualification, another one is invited in order to still have eight competing teams. The invited country is often a runner-up in one of the competitions won by the other team. There were only three cases in the entire history of the Confederation Cup tournament in which teams refused to participate. Germany declined participation twice, once in 1997 when it was replaced by Czech Republic and once in 2003 when it was replaced by Brazil. France has also refused to participate once, in 1999. Brazil took its place in that competition.

Since 1997 when the event start being organized by FIFA, Brazil won the competition three times (in 1997, 2005 and 2009), France won it two times (in 2001 and 2003) and Mexico once (in 1999). Various awards are given to players or teams for their performances during the competition. The Golden Ball for instance is awarded to the best player who is nominated by the media. It was won by Denilson (1997), Ronaldinho (1999), Robert Pires (2001), Thierry Henry (2003), Adriano (2005) and Kaka (2009). The Golden Shoe is given to the player which scores the most goals during the competition. In 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2005 it was won by the same players who also won the Golden Ball. In 1997 the Golden Shoe went to Romario and in 2009 to Luis Fabiano.