The FIFA confederations Cup 2017 is already the winner, Germany. World Champions defeated the Chileans with the account 1:0 thanks to a goal by Lars Stands. The Germans sent a team of second team of young people that was able to gain experience in competition.
We could talk about Germany, but we are primarily interested in what is happening on the other side of the wall. In this case, the team on which we had pinned our hopes on the Russian team. The competition took Russia a month passed the exam at the same time as the organizer and the national team. Did she put on her expectations? In this article we will move from most to least obvious, that is, from team performance to the organizational side of the issue.
Expectations and objectives of the team
To evaluate the performance of the national team is impossible without a brief reminder about the expectations placed on her at the beginning of the competition. According to many of us and most observers, Russia was not a favorite to top the group which contained the Champions of North America in 2015 and 2016 (Mexico and Portugal). They could boast of many outstanding personalities, though inferior to such giants as Germany, Argentina, Brazil, etc. Added a group of New Zealand, the Oceania champion in 2016, which was able to tickle your nerves strong teams.
Despite Russia’s status as outsider groups, it was expected that it will manifest itself very differently than humiliating for her Euro 2016, which we even will not once again remember. In addition. Confederations Cup 2017 looked surprisingly homogeneous: all noted the absence not only of the first part of Germany, but also other teams. All of this cannot even be compared to the extremely unbalanced Cup 2013: Brazil, Spain and Italy on the one hand, Japan and the newcomer Tahiti on the other, Uruguay, Mexico and Nigeria in the middle.
Could all this play into the hands of Russia? Very nervous friendlies until March in doubt. Beautiful victory over Ghana (1:0), a promising defeat of Costa Rica (3:4), medium draws with Turkey (0:0) and Belgium (3:3), the disturbing defeat of côte d’ivoire (0:2) and especially Qatar (1:2), an unconvincing victory over Romania (1:0). However, the last two games weakened team (it was not Dzagoev, Zobnina, Dziuba and the other players) gave hope for the future: combat victory over Hungary (3:0) and a tense draw against Chile (1:1).
The first meeting of Russia took place on June 14 at the stadium “Central”. Her opponent was New Zealand: it was the only match in which she was considered a favorite. As expected, the team won with a convincing score of 2:0 (goals Boxhall into his own net and Smolov). Among the positive aspects noted more than one year previously the offensive pressure on the opponent, who looked utterly helpless. The main downside was the large number of individual errors that have affected the performance of Atka.
In the second match Russia met Portugal, the country with the strongest football traditions. The team conceded a goal early in the match, what was the punishment for unconvincing start and unbalanced composition, in particular on the left flank, where Kudryashov (clearly struggling), Shishkin (not proved) and Kombarov (being too careful) seemed to have dropped out of the match. In spite of incomparably better in the second half, Russia was faced with the same problems of efficiency in the attack, during a meeting with New Zealand, could not equalize and was forced to admit defeat.
The last game was a “quarter-final” with Mexico. If that was enough of a draw to qualify from the group, Russia had to win to gain the right to compete with Germany in the next round. In 2014 and 2016, it has already failed in the same conditions. The same was waiting for us and in 2017, despite the goal and activity on the offensive in the first half. Goalkeeper Akinfeev has always been considered reliable, despite a number of mistakes in important moments, for example, in the match against South Korea at the world Cup 2014. This time another blunder on his part was the key to the victory of the Mexicans and, as a consequence, the defeat of the Russians (1:2). The decision Cherchesov put in attack Bukhanova instead of a Snake, to withdraw Smolov and leave on the bench for the beginning of subsequently actively discussed in the press.
The results of the team’s performance
Thus, Russia has failed to refute the predictions, despite served during the preparatory period of hope. The result was waiting for her already which account elimination from the first round. Now the question is, what does this result. The fact is that, despite the disappointment, many felt that the team’s performance are promising in perspective of the 2018 world Cup given that the team have been major changes after the humiliation in France a year earlier.
Despite a number of mistakes during the tournament, the top insisted on the inclusion of new players and was able to achieve a much better state of mind than the Euro, both on the field and beyond. At the same time about his mistakes no one will forget, causing some fans of the team some scepticism about its prospects.
Anyway, the error that led to the defeat of Russia was first and foremost an individual. Miss Igor Akinfeev, who, according to some, broke the whole dynamics of the game, raised the issue about possible alternatives. The second candidates Cherchesov, Soslan Dzhanaev from “Rostov” Stanislav, Kritsuk of Krasnodar, for various reasons remained away from the field in the second half of the season, but this may change in the coming year. Yuri Lodygin discredited in the “Zenith”. To find a replacement could be among the more young players like the young talents from “Ufa” Andrey Luneva (he recently passed in “Zenith” or Anton Mitryushkina, who participated in the European Junior Championships in 2013 and 2015.
The competition in the first place has shed light on the complete lack of stability of the team in one match. In just a few minutes it could change beyond recognition. For beautiful moments in the games against Portugal and Mexico could follow the shameful failures and Vice versa. Russia remained passive the whole period in the match with Portugal (accelerated only at the very end) and are unable to keep the pace the first 25 minutes of the confrontation with Mexico. Furthermore, the beautiful moments does not guarantee goals. In particular the Russians greatly hurt by the lack of technicality, which did not allow them to finish the attack. In the match against New Zealand as they scored only two goals, although the score could be four times more.
The current confederations Cup was the second for the year experience in the use of video replay in refereeing international football competitions (at first it was tried at the Junior world Championships in South Korea). As in the first case, this approach to judging was at the center of fierce disputes. Its purpose is to reduce the pressure on the referees and prevent the mistakes from their side, which become the subject of ardent football controversy. The result is in front of the screen put three specialists who had the right to intervene in decisions were on the field judges.
The results were the flimsiest: videoscast only choked with emotions, unable to prevent the error. The greatest concern touched upon the difficult evaluation cases. So, Russia could receive three penalty kicks in matches with New Zealand and Mexico after a questionable drops Snake, Zhirkov and Smolov. The referee left the ball in play in the first two cases, and belatedly turned to the video replay in the third, giving up in the end from a penalty (again, a dubious decision) after several extremely tense moments. The same applies to subtle offside Chile in the match with Cameroon.
Videoscast definitely not have earned much sympathy and Portuguese fans in the first match against Mexico. First was canceled one goal (rightly but belatedly), and then had doubts about the second, which is the root of felled cheers.
Could it be that the judges lose their vigilance, because they know that they have still a last resort? Interesting question given the largest penalty competitions, a three-minute delay in the match Germany-Cameroon, when XI’an was given a yellow card for the violation of his odnomomentnoe Mabuki. Referring to the video replay, the referee gave XI’an red card. And only after the third test it was awarded the true culprit.
All these cases indicate the following:
— the judging is the evaluation and decision-making for the sake of continuing the game, and not mandatory pursuit of justice;
— not all the complicated situations in the world can be unambiguously resolved in a scientific way;
— videoscast will not affect the charges of bias and partiality.
In any case, the FIFA President and many members support the use of video replay, so the rejection of him is extremely unlikely. At the same time it still has a long way to go to ensure that it took all of them.
Organization and infrastructure
The competitions were held in four cities:
— in Moscow at the stadium “Open arena” (“Spartak”);
— in St. Petersburg at the stadium “Central” (“Zenit”);
in Kazan at the stadium “Kazan arena” (“ruby”);
— in Sochi at the Fisht stadium, which was built for the Winter Olympics 2014.
These four stadiums are in a dozen, which should make the world Cup matches. Two of them (“Spartak arena” and “Kazan arena”), has conducted matches with their clubs, and the Fisht was also attended important meetings like a Cup-final of Russia of this year.
All the attention was focused mainly on the new St. Petersburg stadium. Resembling a flying saucer “Krestovsky” is impressive for its size. Capable of a capacity of 68 thousand people, the patrimony of “Zenith” already became famous for the enormous cost of construction, put it in first place among the most expensive stadiums in the world. “Krestovsky” became a negative symbol: 9 years for construction, corruption scandals, huge delays, changing contractors and permanent increase in the budget. Upon completion of the work media put on display the slightest defects (plumbing leaks, construction defects…), putting the photos in social networks.
Last, but not least important issue concerns the viability of the lawn that did not meet the standards of FIFA and was replaced. Anyway, all four of the stadium made a good impression, that is encouraging about projects under construction. The difficulty, rather, linked not by the arena, and with their environment. Tube and repair work in the cities (especially in Moscow) became one of the main negative aspects, which will be difficult to manage until 2018. The coach of Cameroon Hugo Bros did not hide their displeasure about this: “It has twice ruined my nerves. We came to Moscow with an hour delay (before the match with Cameroon — approx. ed.) and began to train an hour late because of traffic jams. On Tuesday, the bus pulled up to the hotel 45 minutes later, and then we got stuck in St. Petersburg traffic”.
The only solution to this problem can only be the blocking of roads for buses with the teams, for transport officials.
In addition to the infrastructure, the concern was a safety issue: he seems to scare many foreigners who would like to go to Russia for the world Cup. At the confederations Cup has not been a single incident, and given the large number of Mexican and Chilean fans, no issues in this regard will not. The Russian authorities simply shut down the question using hard checks at the entrance to the stadiums, in connection with which football fans have to be patient and to come in.
After the Russians arranged the riots in Marseille in the European Championship the problem of bullying is taken seriously and the head of the Russian Union of fans Alexander Spragin (he left a long memory in France) couldn’t get a single match: the authorities have deprived him of “passport fan”, without which it was impossible to attend meetings in the framework of the confederations Cup.