The Confederations Cup is now over - and there were plenty of positives and negatives during the tournament.

Here are five things that we can learn from the Confederations Cup

1. Africa still has a long way to go

Nigeria, who are the current African champions, were the representatives of the African continent at the Confederations Cup. Their display against Tahiti was commendable but their finishing was painfully poor; they should have reached double figures.

Against Spain they played incredibly for underdogs. But their finishing was excruciatingly poor. And against Uruguay, they lacked any form of response to most of the threat posed by Diego Forlan and co. Their overall play, however, was superb. But their performance simply highlights the fact that African teams are still not a very significant threat to world football powerhouses.

2. Edinson Cavani is not worth £53m

With a number of clubs willing to come in for the Napoli striker, everyone waited eagerly for Edinson Cavani to prove his worth at the Confederations Cup. And he failed woefully.

Luis Suarez, Forlan and Lugano, none of whom were in the transfer spotlight as much as Suarez all took their chances to register their worth. But not el Matador. Stifled in the match against Spain, struggled against Nigeria, and benched against Tahiti, Cavani was quick to question his massive price tag. Need I say more?

3. Brazil are still the holders of the Cup, and they are getting better

Brazil's opening performances were nothing short of brilliant, most of which were down to the brilliant Neymar, though. But after a struggle to put together a string of any kind of displays under Luiz Felipe Scolari, Brazil have certainly come a long way at the Confederations Cup.

The players are beginning to gel, and the muc- maligned Neymar is finally showing his critics just why the Brazilian team is built around him.

The final against Spain was simply a joy to watch, as they tore the world champions apart. Whether it is because of his new move to Barcelona or the media attention cum criticism, Neymar has stepped up together with the team.

Hulk remains the only weak link while Oscar continues to improve, with Leandro Damiao expected to return to the squad to bolster the striker line up.

4. Italy is still a force to be reckoned with

After a majestic semi-final performance against European and world champions Spain, Italy went on to display mental strength and determination to beat Uruguay on penalties in the third-place match.

They proved that with just a slight tactical readjustment, they can employ their players to be a major opposing force come the World Cup next year.

For the match against Spain, Cesare Prandelli realised his lack of options in certain positions and made adjustments where necessary. Although they lost that one on penalties, pride was restored to the Azzurri - and after putting up another spirited performance to win third place, they can now build on that as they prepare for the showpiece in Brazil.

5. Spain need to drop the Barcelona model

After watching Brazil rip Iker Casillas and co. to shreds, I realised that if Spain must remain the dominant force that they are, they must employ their players in a new tactical system.

The 4-3-3 close-to-tiki-taka formation they have employed under Vicente Del Bosque is becoming old and mundane. Not many will agree but with the players eligible for the Spain national team, other formations will help them defend their world crown in Brazil next year.

And there must be a back-up plan when the going gets rough, unlike what we saw in the Confederations Cup final. Does that remind anyone of a Barcelona under a certain Senor Guardiola?


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