Day 12 at the Confederations Cup sees the first semi-final between the European Champions and the South American Champions, a match-up that actually looks promising. Portugal vs Chile, Cristiano Ronaldo vs Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal vs Real Madrid players (and referees probably). The meeting in Kazan will be the first time they have met since 2011, in a friendly in the Estadio De Luz. The Chilean starting XI will be very similar to that of the one 6 years ago, showing consistency really is the key to success for La Roja.
There will be world class talent on show, there will hopefully be more VAR controversy and there will, providing he starts, be more unique goalkeeping from Claudio Bravo. The Manchester City keeper was hoping to avoid embarrassing himself away in Russia but his antics against Australia almost cost Chile a place in the semis so it wouldn’t surprise me if he was dropped. Meanwhile, another Manchester City player, Bernardo Silva, has been ruled out of the game with an ankle injury sustained in the win over New Zealand. But the winger reassured City fans (all 30,000 of them) on social media saying that no major damage had been done.
Arturo Vidal will face Real Madrid players, Pepe and Ronaldo, for the first time since his controversial sending off in the Bernabeu in the Champions League semi-final while playing for Bayern Munich. Vidal was booked for a second time by the referee after he was deemed to have fouled Marco Asensio but replays showed that Vidal clearly won the ball. This sparked mass protest both on the pitch and on social media that referees were favouring Real Madrid, mainly by bitter Barcelona fans who have their history with referee leniency.
This brings me nicely on to my next point as I look to build this match up to you: VAR. The tournament has been used as a test run for Video Assistant Referees as FIFA try to eliminate errors in games but it’s caused more problems than it’s solved. There have been incidents where the VAR has been a complete farce – most notably in the games; Mexico vs New Zealand and Germany vs Cameroon. A mass brawl was not dealt with at all by the referee in the first game, with only 3 yellow cards being shown after 5 minutes of analysis while the wrong player was sent off AFTER being looked at on VAR for Cameroon only for it to be solved after further analysis.
This will be the last we see of the Kazan Arena before next year’s World Cup, unless you have a passion for the Russian Premier League, so enjoy it. This is the first game I’ve been looking forward to at this tournament so I would recommend you watch it, especially if you’ve wasted time watching any of the other games because this game will be worth 90 minutes of your time.