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Friday 14 June 2013

Eight Premier League stars bid for Spain's first Confederations Cup crown

There are 18 Barclays Premier League players involved in the FIFA Confederations Cup

  • Man City's Jesus Navas is one of eight Premier League players in Spain's squad

  • Spain could add the Confederations Cup to their World Cup and European titles

  • Chelsea's John Obi Mikel won the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations with Nigeria

  • Liverpool's Uruguayans Luiz Suarez and Sebastian Coates take on Spain and Nigeria

  • David Luiz, who faced England recently, and Oscar of Chelsea represent Brazil

  • Brazil take on Maya Yoshida and Shinji Kagawa of Japan in the opening match

  • Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez is set to lead Mexico's attack in Group A

Eighteen players from Barclays Premier League clubs are set to be in action in the FIFA Confederations Cup that kicks off on Saturday. Chelsea are the club with the most players involved, with seven featuring for Brazil, Spain and Nigeria.

Liverpool have three players out in Brazil for the warm-up tournament that takes place a year before the FIFA World Cup and which features the champions of the different continents. Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Southampton each have two players on duty.

Spain target triple crown

Spain are aiming to become the first nation to hold the UEFA European Championship, the FIFA World Cup and the Confederations Cup simultaneously. Manchester City's Jesus Navas and David Silva will be joined by Chelsea's Fernando Torres, Juan Mata and Cesar Azpilicueta, as well as Nacho Monreal and Santi Cazorla of Arsenal and Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina.

Winger Navas was confirmed as a Man City player this week and he could make his debut for the Citizens in Hong Kong as they compete in the 2013 Barclays Asia Trophy.

Before then, Spain will have to negotiate a Group B consisting of Uruguay, Nigeria and Tahiti. Uruguay’s attack will be spearheaded by Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, who scored 23 goals in the 2012/13 Barclays Premier League campaign, and he will be joined by clubmate Sebastian Coates and Southampton's Gaston Ramirez.

Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel and 19-year-old defender Kenneth Omeruo, who has been on loan at Den Haag the past season, are in the squad for Nigeria, the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations champions, as the Super Eagles aim to become the first African team to win the Confederations Cup. Tahiti are the other country in the group.

Brazil bidding for Confederations Cup hat-trick

In Group A, Chelsea's David Luiz and Emboaba Oscar will be striving to help the tournament hosts Brazil win their third consecutive Confederations Cup title, and fourth overall, as they come up against Japan, Mexico and Italy.

Japan became the first team to qualify for next summer’s World Cup in Brazil with a 1-1 draw against Australia on 4 June. Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa and Southampton defender Maya Yoshida hope to build on their recent success under manager Alberto Zaccheroni.

Kagawa could come up against United teammate Javier Hernandez who is set to lead Mexico’s front line in Group A, which also includes UEFA Euro 2012 finalists Italy.

The tournament kicks off on 15 June with hosts Brazil beginning their title defence against Japan.

Barclays Premier League stars at the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013

GROUP A
Brazil:
David Luiz, Oscar (both Chelsea).
Japan:
Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United), Maya Yoshida (Southampton).
Mexico:
Javier Hernandez (Manchester United).

GROUP B
Nigeria:
John Obi Mikel, Kenneth Omeruo (both Chelsea)
Spain:
Cesar Azpilicueta, Fernando Torres, Juan Mata (all Chelsea), Nacho Monreal, Santi Cazorla (both Arsenal), David Silva, Jesus Navas (both Manchester City), Pepe Reina (Liverpool).
Uruguay: Sebastian Coates, Luis Suarez (both Liverpool), Gaston Ramirez (Southampton).

Fixtures

Saturday 15 June
Brazil v Japan, 8pm*

Sunday 16 June
Mexico v Italy, 8pm
Spain v Uruguay, 11pm

Monday 17 June
Tahiti v Nigeria, 8pm

Wednesday 19 June
Brazil v Mexico, 8pm
Italy v Japan, 11pm

Thursday 20 June
Spain v Tahiti, 8pm
Nigeria v Uruguay, 11pm

Saturday 22 June
Italy v Brazil, 8pm
Japan v Mexico, 8pm

Sunday 23 June
Nigeria v Spain, 8pm
Uruguay v Tahiti, 8pm

Semi-finals
Wednesday 26 June

Winners Group A v Runners-up Group B, 8pm

Thursday 27 June
Winners Group B v Runners-up Group A, 8pm             

Sunday 30 June 2013
Third-place play-off

Loser SF1 v Loser SF2, 5pm

Final
Winner SF1 v Winner SF2, 11pm

* All times BST

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Key Points

  • 18 Premier League players to compete in 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup tournament
  • New Man City signing Jesus Navas among eight Premier League stars looking to help Spain win the title for the first time
  • Chelsea duo Oscar and David Luiz in squad for reigning champions Brazil