In this teaching ideas post we look at the FIFA Confederations Cup which is taking place at the moment in South Africa. You can find a short reading about the tournament below along with a printable worksheet (with answers) here. There is also a short vocabulary list at the foot of this post.
The FIFA Confederations Cup kicks off in South Africa this week with eight teams taking part in a warm-up for the 2010 World Cup finals. The eight sides include the six conference winners – the teams that have won the international tournaments in their respective regions – as well as the hosts, South Africa and the current world champions, Italy. So, New Zealand represent Oceania, Egypt are the current African Nations Cup holders, Spain won the Euro title in 2008, the USA won the CONCACAF regional trophy, Iraq represent the best in Asia, while Brazil are the reigning Copa America champions.
Since FIFA took over the running of the tournament in 1997, Brazil and France have both won it twice, with Mexico winning the other one. Initially it was played every two years but since 2005 it has been decided to play the competition every four years, taking place the year before the World Cup.
The tournament offers a good chance for South Africa to demonstrate that they can smoothly organise an international football competition 12 months before the real thing takes place. It will also bring in some much-needed revenue for the local economy though there will hardly be any supporters travelling from overseas. In fact, there are no guarantees that the venues will be full at all during the competition thanks to high ticket prices.
There are other problems. Many of the players have just finished a tough season in Europe, meaning that managers in the top leagues there will be hoping that their star players do not get injured or become burned out. Fans are also suffering from an excess of football and it looks like TV audiences will be low too, so sponsors will not be happy.
So, which team is going to lift the trophy on June 28th? Most people’s favourites include Brazil and Spain, while betting against the Italians is never a good idea. New Zealand and Iraq are seen as the outsiders but a good tip for dark horses of the tournament can be the US team who will make life hard for Brazil and Italy in the group stage. Indeed, with some luck they may progress to the final where, I think, they will lose to Spain.
Here are explanations of some of the words and phrases from the reading. Download the worksheet here
hosts: The team playing at home, the country organisng the competition
current world champions: The last team to win the World Cup
represent: To act on behalf on
reigning: The current champions, the team that last won the trophy
revenue: Money, income
venues: The places where the games take place, the stadia
burned out : To be extremely tired, have nothing left after playing too much football
betting against: To think they will not win, to gamble on an another team
outsiders: A team with little or no chance
dark horses: A team that not many people think will win but may have a chance