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June 23, 2017: Federation Internationale De Football Association: Three standout performers for Germany
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For Germany's national team in particular, the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 is reminiscent of a big talent show - and a 'recall' to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia(TradeMark) in 12 months' time is the grand prize.
After two matches, three standout performers have already emerged.
1 Lars Stindl Although Stindl became Germany's first goalscorer at this tournament just five minutes into the match against Australia, it was his selection as a lone striker over more established attacking players that emphasised the confidence Joachim Low has in him.
"My role was to disrupt their build-up play at the front and constantly make myself available for passes when we won the ball," the Borussia Monchengladbach striker told FIFA immediately after the game. "We deliberately put Lars Stindl up front today because he works the ball well and can hold it up - and he did a fantastic job," confirmed Low.
What makes Stindl unusual is that, at 28 years old, he is far from being the typical talented, aspiring youngster keen to make a name for himself. "Right now I'm just taking it all in," he explained, having made his international debut just a few weeks earlier. "There are plenty of feel-good moments - the whole tournament, the organisation and the atmosphere surrounding it."
2 Jonas Hector The Cologne left-back's ticket to Russia 2018 seemed secure even before the tournament began.
Hector has been one of the world champions' key players since UEFA EURO 2016, working as steadily and dependably as clockwork on the left wing. The only criticism levelled against him is an apparent lack of attacking intent.
In light of this, his assist against Chile suggested that he is keen to continue developing this area of his game. This was reinforced by the fact that Low trusted him to run the left wing alone, both in attack and defence, for the second match in succession.
3 Leon Goretzka The 22-year-old Schalke midfielder had a tough act to follow against Chile after scoring, providing an assist and even winning his team a penalty in the win over Australia. After waxing lyrical about his performance on his international debut, the press simply referred to him as "unremarkable" against the South Americans.
Yet this is a success in itself. Playing in his preferred position meant he was confronted with a player of the quality of Arturo Vidal, and his almost flawless performance against a top-class opponent like Chile only emphasised his talent further. "We tried to control the game by keeping the ball, kept our heads and managed to play our way back into the game," said Goretzka, who appears to have a bright future ahead of him - perhaps even starting right now. After all, when it comes to Joachim Low, consistent performances are much more important than one outstanding game.
SECTION 1 FEDERATION INTERNATIONALE DE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION ACTIVITIES
SECTION 2 FEDERATION INTERNATIONALE DE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION PROFILE
SECTION 3 BUSINESS NEWS ROUND UP
SECTION 1 FEDERATION INTERNATIONALE DE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION ACTIVITIES
Federation Internationale De Football Association operates as the international governing body of football sport. It develops, improves, and promotes the game of football globally. The company was founded in 1904 and is based in Zurich, Switzerland.
SECTION 2 FEDERATION INTERNATIONALE DE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION PROFILE
SECTION 3 BUSINESS NEWS ROUND UP
June 21, 2017: Federation Internationale De Football Association: Proud Eto'o revels in father figure role
Samuel Eto'o was in Moscow for Cameroon v Chile on Father's Day He is like a proud dad to the players who came through his academy Like any good parent, he also offered some words of advice
By Pascal De Miramon with Cameroon
"Good evening dad!" said Fabrice Ondoa and Christian Bassogog, peering into a phone camera.
The scene was a few days after Cameroon had won the CAF Africa Cup of Nations Gabon 2017 and the pair, respectively named the competition's outstanding goalkeeper and the player of the tournament, were recording a video for Samuel Eto'o.
"Thank you for everything you've done for us, thank you for your foundation, without which our dreams wouldn't have come true today," went on Ondoa, before also thanking his country's all-time top scorer for having gone to the stadium to support the Indomitable Lions in their final win over Egypt. "It's thanks to you that we've got these," said the beaming duo, proudly holding up the gold medals hanging around their necks.
Foundation for family pride Touched by the message, a proud Eto'o posted the clip on his Instagram account, with the words "I'd like to share my happiness with all of you" as a caption. "Thank you to my kids," added the Antalyaspor forward, who has been involved in a range of development, education and training projects for numerous years.
Bassogog, Ondoa and their international team-mate Andre Onana are all products of the football academy run by the Samuel Eto'o Foundation and it is plain to see that they maintain a strong emotional bond with their philanthropic compatriot.
Despite retiring from the international game following the team's abject failure at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil(TradeMark), Eto'o's influence continues to be writ large on the Cameroonian national team. It was fitting, then, that the recently appointed FIFA Legend should have been in Moscow last Sunday - Father's Day, no less - for his country's FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017 opener against Chile.
"It's a huge source of pride for any father to watch his children grow up and do great things," he told FIFA.com, "I'm thrilled to see kids who passed through my hands in this team. But I'm just an intermediary who gave them a chance to showcase all their talent. I wish them a long career like mine - or an even better one!"
While the fledgling Lions are currently far off matching Eto'o's individual achievements, the veteran hailed the team spirit that underlay their run to African glory, which was notoriously missing from certain Cameroon sides of the past.
"They've got a good team, and above all a great group. As I always say, with harmony you are halfway to victory. Everyone knows that you have limited time together in the national team, but in spite of that, they managed to build that rapport really quickly. I hope they carry on in the same vein and that there are many more triumphs to come."
DID YOU KNOW? Eto's spectacular winner against Brazil in the 2003 Confederations Cup inflicted the South Americans' only defeat in 33 matches against African opposition at FIFA tournaments.
Never shy about speaking his mind, the father figure was also happy to offer his former academy charges some advice for the future. "First and foremost, I'd tell them simply to pursue their dreams. That doesn't just apply to this competition. They have to strive to get better every day, because football is a constant test. You have to put in the effort to improve on a daily basis; that's the only way you can leave your mark in this wonderful sport."
Described by captain Benjamin Moukandjo as a side without "any real stars", Cameroon will nevertheless be looking for someone to steal the spotlight in their next match, against Australia. As Eto'o put it, challenging this crop of players to keep blossoming and perhaps even outstrip him one day, "It's all well and good having a team that put the group's interests ahead of personal glory, but sometimes it takes individual exploits to clinch collective success."
June 21, 2017: Federation Internationale De Football Association: Herrera and Lozano, 'brothers' in search of Mexican glory
Herrera made 52 Liga MX appearances with Pachuca, while Lozano made 120 Lozano has 16 caps for Mexico; Herrera has 50 This is the first time they have been at a FIFA-run tournament together
By Martin Langer with Mexico
Anyone who has been following the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017 knows by now that the Mexico squad features two brothers, Giovani and Jonathan dos Santos. However, few are aware that there are two other players currently representing El Tri who also enjoy a fraternal relationship, although they do not share the same parents.
Despite a six-year age difference, Hector Herrera and Hirving Lozano joined Pachuca's youth set-up at roughly the same time. Since then, the older of the pair, Herrera, has always kept an eye out for his younger friend, as their careers have taken almost identical paths.
Perfect parallels Both started out at Pachuca, where they each developed into the team's key player, both starred at the Olympic Football Tournament - four years apart - and now both will ply their trade in Europe, with Lozano making a recent move to the continent in which Herrera has performed for the past four years. And, of course, both are at Russia 2017 to defend the colours of Mexico. Were it not for the fact that Lozano plays up front and Herrera as a midfielder, fans would be forgiven for thinking they were clones of each other.
"We've known each other for a long time and we're very close friends," said Lozano. "Hector's given me a lot of advice and guidance, and I always try to take all those great pointers and make the most of them. He's a great player and a fantastic human being."
Herrera chimed in with a smile: "I've known him since he was a ten-year-old boy. Our stories are similar, and I'm very proud of what he's done. Each time that we have the chance to share a room we do it - I'm really fond of him, and I'm so happy that he's been able to achieve his dreams."
Shared ambitions "He's a talented player and a great person," said Lozano, PSV Eindhoven's latest signing. "I'm glad to see how far he's come," replied Herrera, who has established himself at Porto, where he put pen to paper at the end of the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil.
As well as their mutual admiration and brotherly love, the duo also, unsurprisingly, share the same ambitions about Wednesday's match with New Zealand and the tournament in general, but they are also both acutely aware that it will be no easy task.
"We're full of confidence - we played well against Portugal and if we want to advance in the tournament we have no choice but to win, and we'll go looking for that right from the off," said Herrera, who played the full 90 minutes of Mexico's opening match.
Lozano, meanwhile, is still dreaming of making his Confederations Cup debut, but that personal ambition has not clouded his desire for the team to earn three valuable points. "Whether they consider us favourites or not is not our concern," remarked the attack-minded 21-year-old. "All of the teams here are strong, and we'll put in our best possible effort, with the aim of picking up a win, obviously."
And if they are both able to celebrate their victory together at the final whistle, all the better.
June 21, 2017: Federation Internationale De Football Association: Chile banking on defensive cover and mental strength
Diaz, Puch and the importance of defensive cover against Germany Key words: seamlessness, coordination and know-how Mental strength will also be vital against the world champions
By Diego Zandrino, with Chile
Chile are a team who focus on one thing when they take to the pitch: the opposition goal. The full-backs like to get forward, the midfielders hit diagonal balls to catch the rival defence off guard and the forwards waste no time getting into the box.
Inevitably, however, comes the need to drop back and defend. A key aspect of the game, the defensive transition is one that La Roja seem to have mastered. "We're so used to making that tactical switch that it just comes naturally now, which is crucial," Chile central midfielder Marcelo Diaz told FIFA.
One of the men entrusted with providing defensive cover, Diaz added: "Those of us who have a tactical job to do need to be very watchful so that we can solve the problems that crop up during a game. It all helps our team-mates to get forward into goalscoring positions."
That job falls not just to the defensive midfielders but to the wide men as well. In Chile's opening match against Cameroon, Edson Puch was more than once seen dropping back to cover the full-backs as they made runs forward.
"If we don't coordinate our defensive cover properly then it can be dangerous," Puch told FIFA. "We are coordinated though, because the players know each other really well. That's why Chile are a tough team to score against."
Diaz v Puch Ages: 30 v 31 International debuts: 2011 v 2009 Caps: 54 v 17 Goals: 1 v 2
Providing defensive cover becomes even more of a pressing issue when Germany are your next opponents. Young and technically gifted with it, the Germans are quick and precise when it comes to switching from defence to attack.
"It's essential that we're watchful, alert and focused," said Diaz. "And we need to do it even better than we did against Cameroon, simply because of the team we're coming up against."
Puch pointed to the need to analyse Germany's organisation and strengths to make sure Chile do not get caught out. As he went on to say, however, the challenge is far from a new one for La Roja: "Chile are used to playing teams of this standard. I'm confident everything will work out."
Inside knowledge The midfielder added that the mood in the Chile camp is one of guarded optimism: "When you come up against the world champions you need to be very strong mentally and you need to be in form. And I think we are.
"Aside from all the victories and the cups, that's been Chile's biggest achievement. Our mental strength and positivity are what makes us the team that everyone sees."
Diaz, who played for Hamburg in the Bundesliga in 2015, had this to say about the Germans: [Marc-Andre] Ter Stegen, [Shkodran] Mustafi, [Jonas] Hector and [Joshua] Kimmich are the ones who stand out, but I know all of them and they're very good. That's why it's going to be tough, even though they're a young team. Most of them are experienced and play for big clubs."
June 20, 2017: Federation Internationale De Football Association; New era brings new mentality for single-minded Aussies
Australian sportspeople have never been satisfied with losing, but there was perhaps a time when the Socceroos took some solace from a heroic defeat against a traditional football world power.
Any such thoughts are long gone, and that is particularly true in the Ange Postecoglou era. The Australian players' hang-dog demeanour and the post-match reaction of Postecoglou provided further evidence that any assumptions of inferiority on the field have long been cast aside.
Australia fell 3-2 to Germany in their FIFA Confederations Cup opener, but future Group B opponents Cameroon and Chile have been put on notice that they can expect a rigorous and demanding examination.
The Socceroos eclipsed a poor first half to shade the Germans for possession in the second period. After the match, FIFA World Cup(TradeMark)-winning Germany coach Joachim Low spoke at length of his admiration for the Socceroos approach.
"It is a team that is courageous and cheeky enough to challenge their opponents regardless of whether it is Brazil or Germany, or any other opponents," Low said. "They attack very boldy early on, and not many teams do that. I think they have developed greatly in the last two or three years.
"What I have seen is that there has been a positive development since 2010 from Australia, having previously played with long and high balls. For us that was easy to defend against.
"Now they have changed their playing style, leaving aside whether they have a back three of a back four. They play really good combination football."
Changing perceptions Low's words will be appreciated by Postecoglou, a coach who has long bristled at the idea that perceptions of Australian football overlook their modern approach in favour of old stereotypes.
And Australia's mentality is not limited to self-confidence on the world stage. Postecoglou's philosophy is that how you win is more important than the final outcome itself.
"If we get a victory that is backs to the wall, and we scramble through, that won't be satisfying to me," Postecoglou said before their match against the world champions.
And the Aussie mentor has also instilled belief in his youthful and relatively inexperienced side.
"We are respectful of every opponent, but we know the qualities in our team and the belief in ourselves," said Australia goalkeeper Mat Ryan.
"Maybe we were a bit anxious tonight and forcing things instead of being confident on the ball. If we can find that form from the second half we know we will give a better account of ourselves.
"We will take confidence [into the Cameroon match] that we can play our brand of football against this level of opposition, like we showed at the last World Cup."
June 20, 2017: Federation Internationale De Football Association: Three questions for the Kiwis
New Zealand need a result against Mexico to keep semi-final hopes alive Defeat to Russia means another loss will see them mathematically out of the running Will the All Whites follow same high-press tactics as against the hosts?
By Brendon Hanley with New Zealand
Ahead of Wednesday's seemingly must-win match against Mexico in Group A, some pressing queries have emerged from New Zealand's camp.
Can they learn quickly enough? Several players and coach Anthony Hudson have talked about how the All Whites seldom get the chance to play the level of opposition of Russia, much less in the pressurised circumstances of the opening 2-0 defeat. So everyone has been speaking about the learning curve the team are on and how it will make them improve, but will it happen for El Tri match?
"We don't play these kinds of games so regularly. You play them and you get exposed for every little mistake, so they are great experiences for us," Hudson explained to FIFA before adding his usual disclaimer: "But we can't be going into the next game as a learning opportunity. We want to prepare properly and do everything we possibly can to get a result."
Will there be changes to the team? Many of the Kiwis point to the improvement of their play in the second half against the Russians, but against an even quicker and more attack-minded Mexican side, Hudson might opt for a more conservative approach. But he isn't speaking that way. "We know we want to tweak a few things, but we still want to be aggressive and positive," said the 36-year-old. Still, expect the inclusion of either Bill Tuiloma or Themi Tzimopoulos in defensive midfield to give the side some more bite.
Will they really try to press Mexico? Hudson is giving nothing away, only saying that if the team "plays the game of their lives, anything can happen", but some of his players say the side is going to try to stick to the plan of pressuring the CONCACAF champions.
"Anyone that has watched us over the last few games knows that we like to press, so I don't think that will be any different against Mexico. We like to think if we can win the ball high up the pitch, it will create opportunities to score," said veteran defender Tommy Smith. "And they can be dangerous if you give them time and space on the ball, so we're going to try to stop them from having that."
Promising young left-back Deklan Wynne believes the challenges will be different and perhaps more suited to the All Whites' game plan. "I don't think they'll be as physical as Russia, and they like to possess the ball more, which should allow us to get into their half and put them under pressure a bit more."
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