As part of the annual U.S. Soccer general meeting, federation president Carlos Cordeiro said that the FIFA Confederations Cup won’t be played again, and the reverberations could be felt in the biennial CONCACAF Gold Cup.
The Confederations Cup has been contested every summer before the World Cup since 2005, collecting the reigning continental champions along with the current World Cup champion and upcoming host nation for an eight-team tournament.
But with the 2022 World Cup in Qatar taking place during the winter due to extreme heat, FIFA announced plans last year to do away with the Confed Cup. Potential replacements have been floated, including an expanded Club World Cup, which is held in relative anonymity every December.
While there’s been no official word from FIFA, Cordeiro seemed to confirm the Confed Cup has been shuttered, and offered another possible replacement.
“It’s done and over with,” he said, according to The Athletic. “In place of Confederations Cup there will be intracontinental playoffs to get to that 48-team (World Cup).”
That would certainly be enticing for soccer fans, but what about teams that look at the Confed Cup as a reward, a proving ground?
Teams like the United States?
One of the U.S. men’s national team’s high-water marks was finishing as runners-up at the 2009 Confed Cup, during which the Yanks handed Spain its only competitive loss in a major tournament during its stretch of winning back-to-back-to-back European Championships and the 2010 World Cup.
Playing in the Confed Cup has been a big prize for teams in CONCACAF. The USMNT used the 2009 edition as a stepping stone to winning its group in South Africa the following summer. Mexico played in the 2017 tournament and shocked defending champion Germany to open last summer’s World Cup before reaching the knockout stages.
Winning the Gold Cup represents a chance for teams like the United States and Mexico to test themselves against world-class competition – and those chances are few and far between, considering Europe and South America are wildly more competitive than North and Central America and the Caribbean.
Cordeiro went on to say the Gold Cup could be scrapped after the 2021 edition.
“The Gold Cup is only legislated for this year and 2021, so it could go on but it may not happen,” he said.
“There have been talks in the last year between CONMEBOL (the South American confederation) and CONCACAF on a kind of combined Copa America,” he added, “but they haven’t been able to come to an agreement on that.”
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