It seems that every year before a FIFA World Cup there are questions if the host nation will be ready for the biggest sporting event in the world.
Brazil, host of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, will get a run through this month when they host the eight-nation FIFA Confederations Cup in six venues. The tournament kicks off on June 16 with two-time the defending champions, Brazil, playing Japan at Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha (1 p.m. MT, ESPN3).
Following Brazil as host and Spain as defending World Cup Champions, the other teams in the tournament are winners of their respective confederation's championships. Japan (Asia), Mexico (2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup champs), Uruguay (South America's 2012 Copa America champs), Tahiti (OCEANA), Nigeria (Africa), and Italy (runner up of EURO champions, also won by Spain).
Regional champion Mexico begins play on Sunday, June 17 against Italy before facing Brazil (June 19) and Japan (June 22). All of Mexico's matches will be aired live on Univision.
The first Confederations Cup was held in France in 2003, with France defeated Cameroon in the final. Since then, the tournament has been held the year before the World Cup in the country that was set to host the upcoming World Cup. In 2005, Brazil defeated Argentina 4-1 to win the event in Germany. In 2009, Brazil came back from a 2-0 deficit to the United States to repeat as champions with a 3-2 win.
The 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup will begin in the United States in July, with Denver playing host to a double-header featuring Mexico on July 14. A special three-pack offer is available starting at just $45.