the Fiver has been following every kick of the 2017 Confederations Cup. Factor in whoever drew the MBM short straw for Big Website each day, plus your average audience for ITV4, and that’s at least three people watching every match of Fifa’s 17th most prestigious tournament, either by choice, under duress, or as a result of drifting off midway through The Professionals after trying to keep up with Gordon Jackson’s whisky consumption and waking up with a dry mouth on 87 minutes. The viewing figures could have been even higher, who knows what yet. And hasn’t it been a blast, with some thoroughly exciting fare served up by Australia, Cameroon, Chile, a schoolboy XI from North Rhine-Westphalia, the cast of What We Do In The Shadows, the same old, same old from Concacaf, a jaded Him and 11 increasingly concerned locals. More please, Fifa!
|And yay! Yay Fifa! Because there is indeed more to come, with three teams still left standing. Chile made it to the final after one of those matches a certain type of supporter makes a disproportionate song and dance over. It was all right, don’t get us wrong, but nobody could do a goal, so y’know. But there was some unquestionable entertainment at the end, as ersatz Simone Zaza tribute act Nani missed that rarest of things: a decisive shootout penalty that He didn’t Donald Trump his way through a crowd to take himself. Very strange. That gave Chile the chance to follow up their two recent Copa América triumphs over Argentina with yet another big final win, further adjustments potentially required to a roll of honour that had been untroubled for the first 90 years of the team’s existence. He, meanwhile, will take heart that He’s just become the father of twins. And He’ll always have Paris, a major international tournament forever on His CV. Penny for Lionel Messi’s thoughts. Actually, give us that penny back, we know exactly what he’s thinking.
Chile will play the winners of Thursday’s game between 1999 champions Concacaf Team and the aforementioned Saxon student collective. The Germans scored seven goals in their three group matches, while Mexico’s signature statement so far has come against Russia, a poor side who nevertheless are still going to beat both the USA! USA!! USA!!! and England next summer in front of a highly amused Vladimir Putin. (You know it, so lump on.) Julian Draxler and Timo Werner are both in fine form, so their side are favourites, though international experience counts for a lot, and their opponents – the Little Pea is pushing 30 – have plenty of that. But whoever gets through, we’re pretty much guaranteed a wonderful final, and a fitting end to a tournament some are already saying is even better than the 2002 World Cup. Yay Fifa!