The Confederations Cup will play its eighth final on Sunday, July 2.
For the first time since 2003, Brazil will not be in said final.
The Brazilians have dominated this tournament, winning four of the seven editions and reaching the final another time. Only France (twice) has been to more than one final, winning in 2001 and 2003.
While the Confederations Cup can occasionally create some less-than-stellar matches in the group stage, the finals have been entertaining at the very least.
Here is The18’s ranking of the Confederations Cup finals.
Saudi Arabia hosted the first official Confederations Cup after holding the King Fahd Cup in 1992 and 1995. With FIFA involved, every confederation had a spot at the table, but Brazil was in a class of its own.
With stars like Ronaldo, Romario, Cafu, Roberto Carlos, Denilson and Rivaldo (to name a few), Brazil torched Australia in the final, aided by a 24th-minute red card by Australia’s Mark Viduka.
Ronaldo and Romario both scored hat tricks and Brazil became the first team to own the World Cup, continental championship and Confederations Cup all at once. They’d win a few more, though it would take a few years.
Japan, co-host with South Korea, beat up on Canada, Cameroon and Australia to reach the final in the first Confederations Cup used as a warmup for the following year’s World Cup.
France, however, was coming off World Cup and European success and crushed South Korea (5-0) and Mexico (4-0) in the group stage (plus a shock 1-0 loss to Australia) before edging Brazil 2-1 in the semifinals.
Japan played tough in the final, but Frank Leboeuf found Patrick Viera for a headed goal in the 30th minute and that was all France needed to become the second team to hold the three major international trophies at the same time.
Despite finishing as runners-up in group play, the South American giants found their way to the final to set up an epic clash in Germany.
The semifinals were both more exciting than the final. Germany twice pulled level after going behind, before a goal from Adriano put Brazil into the final, 3-2. In the other semi, both Mexico and Argentina scored in extra time before La Albiceleste won in PKs 6-5.
Ronaldinho, who had lost in the 1999 Confederations Cup final (see below), finally won the tournament as Brazil dismantled a strong Argentina side. Adriano scored twice while Ronaldinho and Kaka both tallied.
The build-up to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil was dominated by protests, which boiled over during the Confederations Cup. Nonetheless, the home side crushed all comers on the way to the final while Spain, the reigning World Cup and European champions cruised through the group stage before topping Italy in PKs, 7-6.
In the final, Brazil hammered Spain 3-0. Fred scored in the second minute of the first and second halves and Neymar added a goal right before halftime.
David Luiz made a last-ditch, goal-line clearance to keep it 1-1 in the first half and Spain’s Sergio Ramos pulled a penalty kick wide at 3-0 to ensure the home side celebrated wildly. It was the third time the host nation won.
This tournament, held in France, was full of surprises, both good and bad. Brazil and the U.S. finished third and fourth, respectively, in Group B behind Cameroon and Turkey.
However, Cameroon’s run to the final was overshadowed by the death of midfielder Marc-Vivian Foe, who collapsed in the 72nd minute of the semifinal win over Colombia and died of cardiac arrest.
The African champions reached the final by scoring three goals in four matches without conceding. It looked like Cameroon would be able to pull the upset by again keeping their opponent at bay after neither team scored in the opening 90 minutes of the final.
But Thierry Henry, who won the Golden Ball and Golden Boot, scored the golden goal in the 97th minute, though it wasn’t enough to forget the shocking first-round exit in the 2002 World Cup.
Both teams honored Foe together before and after the match.
For Americans, this was one of the most heartbreaking losses ever.
Clint Dempsey put the U.S. on top in the 10th minute with a clever redirect of a Jonathan Spector cross. Landon Donovan made it 2-0 after a perfectly worked counterattack with Charlie Davies (remember him?) in the 27th minute.
After halftime, things changed.
Luis Fabiano scored in the first minute of the second half to end the idea that Tim Howard was infallible in goal (he finished with eight saves). Kaka, who earlier had been denied a goal that appeared to have gone over the line, set up Fabiano for the equalizer in the 74th minute.
Lucio then struck the dagger blow with a headed goal off a corner in the 84th minute.
The U.S., which lost its first two matches and needed to beat Egypt 3-0 while having Brazil beat Italy 3-0 just to reach the knockout stage, stunned Spain 2-0 in the semifinals at a time when Spain appeared unbeatable. But Bob Bradley’s men couldn’t complete the Cinderella run against a stacked Brazilian team that also featured Ramirez, Maicon, Robinho and Dani Alves.
The Confederations Cup was still trying to find its way in 1999, with the second iteration hosted by Mexico and not played before a World Cup as would eventually become standard.
Mexico had taken out bitter rival United States in the semifinals while Brazil was flying, having beaten Germany 4-0 and Saudi Arabia 8-2 in the semifinals thanks to a young star in the making named Ronaldinho.
In the final, Mexico went up 2-0 within 30 minutes but Brazil equalized at 2-2 moments into the second half. Miguel Zepeda scored his second to restore El Tri’s lead and Rafael Marquez played in Cuauhtemoc Blanco for the eventual winner in the 62nd minute as the Azteca went crazy, rendering a 63rd-minute strike from Ze Roberto meaningless.
The U.S., which beat Germany 2-0 in group stage, beat Saudi Arabia 2-0 in the third-place game.