Summer tournaments reach conclusion

Unless they have the fortune of having European qualification matches to look forward to, English football fans will be looking at their team’s pre-season itinerary. There is other football to enjoy before the Premier League starts on the 15th August, with the European U21 Championship and the Confederations Cup nearing their conclusion.

England face hosts Sweden in the semi finals of the U21 event, with either Italy or Germany waiting for the winner in the final. Stuart Pearce has fully utilised his squad, although all eyes will be on Theo Walcott to inspire the Three Lions against a team that has scored nine goals in reaching the last four.

12 Premier League clubs are represented in the England squad, so followers of top flight clubs have a good opportunity to see if their young players are ready to become regulars in the coming season.

There is less Premier League representation in the Confederations Cup, especially now Spain have been knocked out.

The European champions were surprise 2-0 semi final losers to United States, who face Brazil in the final.

Dunga’s men have not quite been at their best but have still done enough to suggest they’ll be serious challengers in South Africa next year. It would be a major surprise if USA recorded another upset.

The Americans did show the way in dealing with Spain, who went into the match on a record 15-match winning streak. They gave their illustrious opponents no time on the ball and defended deep, although Vincente del Bosque’s team have too much quality to be consistently frustrated at next year’s World Cup.

With regards to the football odds, Spain are narrow favourites to lift a trophy they have never won before, but Brazil will be out to prove against United States that they are the team to beat next summer.

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