Confederations Cup: Best XI
We take a look at the best possible team to be made out the stars of the World Cup warm-up event
With the 2013 Confederations Cup acting as the last great warm up before the World Cup, it seems appropriate to look at the XI that should be on top form.
There are countries being represented in Brazil this month with Spain, Italy, Nigeria, Japan, Brazil, Uruguay, Tahiti and Mexico all competing to become champions. We take a look at the players in the tournament who are the best in their position, with at least one player from each team.
Perhaps surprisingly, the Premier League is the fourth most well represented league in the competition, with 19 players, if one includes Julio Cesar who was recently relegated to the English Championship with QPR. The formation of this XI will be 3-5-2.
Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)
With several viable contender in this role such as Iker Casillas and Julio Cesar, it was difficult to decide who to select. However, at the ripe old age of 35, this will probably be the Italian's final Confederations Cup. A superb shot-stopper with a commanding presence in the penalty area, the most expensive goalkeeper in history still manages to perform to the highest standard, despite his age.
Centre-back: Gerard Pique (Spain)
The Spanish destroyer has not been at his best for over the last couple of years, but this is a chance for him to prove that he is still a world-class defender that should not be underestimated. His tackling defines him as a player, although his positional play needs to be improved.
Centre-back: Giorgio Chiellini (Italy)
One of the most tough-tackling central defenders in world football, the Italian has been one of the most consistent defenders in Serie A over the last few years. With Buffon protecting the goal behind him and Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Ignazio Abate playing alongside him, Italy will be a very difficult team to score against this summer.
Centre-back: Thiago Silva (Brazil) (Captain)
The PSG stalwart has been the best defender in the world this year, by a country mile. His brute strength and pace, combined with his incisive tackling mark him out as one to watch out for this summer and the World Cup 2014. Brazil have often lacked in defence, but now they appear to be firm and powerful, with Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Dani Alves and Marcelo.
Right midfielder: Giovani Dos Santos (Mexico)
The former Tottenham man has been an ever-present in the Mexico side and just keeps getting better and better. At only 24, he made 62 appearances for the national team, scoring 14 goals in that time. His pace, dribbling and trickery could mark him out as one of the stars of the tournament. If Mexico are to do well, it will be because of the performances of this man.
Centre midfielder: John Obi Mikel (Nigeria)
Chelsea's midfield bruiser is the biggest star in a Nigerian side that looks like it may struggle in this tournament. However, with the powerful defensive midfielder in their ranks, they could yet spring a surprise on their competition. He has had an 83.3% tackling success rate this year, which is impressive by anyone's standards.
Centre midfielder: Shinji Kagawa (Japan)
Kagawa has not had the most prolific of first seasons at Old Trafford but his talent is apparent to the world. If he is given a decent run in the United starting 11, then he could easily become one of the most cultured attacking midfielders in the game. The Confederations Cup seems to be the perfect opportunity to exploit, as his performances could lead to a sarting berth at Old Trafford come next season.
Centre midfielder: Andrea Pirlo (Italy)
At 34, this could very easily be the Italian's last international competition, along with the World Cup. However, he is still one of the most immense passers in world football and keeps his side, whether that be Juventus or Italy, ticking over with his superb through balls and playmaking abilities.
Left midfielder: Neymar (Brazil)
Although predominantly played as a striker or playmaker, the Brazilian wonderkid can also operate on the wing due to his awesome speed and dribbling technique. Full to bursting with skills and tricks, Neymar is out to impress his new employers, Barcelona who expect big things from him. He has already showed his talent in his first game against Japan, scoring an absolute thunderbolt.
Striker: Steevy Chong Hue (Tahiti)
The Tahitian striker was in epic form in the Oceania Nations Cup which saw him score the winning goal in the final, which allowed Tahiti to book their place in the Confederations Cup. He has scored 7 goals in 15 games for the international side overall.
Striker: Edinson Cavani (Uruguay)
One of the most in-form strikers in world football at the moment, the powerful Cavani has been linked with massive teams over the last few weeks, such as Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester City and PSG. The £58m hitman will look to increase his value still further with his goal-scoring exploits this summer.
What do you think? Who would make your Ultimate Confederations Cup XI? Leave your views below & check out the official Confederations Cup Facebook page by clicking here: FIFA Confederations Cup 2013
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://bit.ly/12evFlH
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.