Football - International
Confederations Cup curse could spell early World Cup exit for Germany or Chile (30th June 2017)
The winner of the Confederations Cup final between Germany and Chile this weekend could find themselves on an early flight home from Russia at next year's World Cup, according to research from leading spread betting firm Sporting Index.
Since the Confederations Cup first started in 1992 - renamed the Confederations Cup from the King Fahd Cup in 1997 - no winner of the tournament has ever gone on to win the World Cup the following year, a statistic this is sure to send the shivers down the spines of finalists Germany and Chile.
Brazil have been the biggest victims of the Confederations Cup curse, winning the tournament in 1997 and recording three wins in a row in 2005, 2009 and 2013 - only to miss out on lifting the World Cup in each of the four following tournaments.
The five time champions have not won the World Cup since 2002 in Japan and have not qualified for this year's Confederations Cup - but this could be a blessing in disguise for Neymar and Co. next year in Russia if they are to mount a serious challenge.
The Brazilians came closest to breaking the Confederations Cup curse in 1998, however they lost out 3 - 0 to hosts France in the final, with Zinedine Zidane bagging a brace.
The French also have a history of poor World Cup performances after lifting the Confederations Cup following their 2001 triumph. Les Bleus suffered a shock loss to World Cup new boys Senegal on the opening day in 2002 and against Denmark in their final group game to finish bottom of the table and first team to board an early flight home.
The Confederations Cup has also seen two of the tournament's top scorers crocked for the following year's World Cup tournaments. Brazilian Romario finished with the golden boot in 1997 after netting seven times, only to miss France '98 through injury.
The same fate fell upon France's Robert Pires after he finished top scorer in the 2001 Confederations Cup in South Korea and Japan, only to miss out on the 2002 World Cup after suffering cruciate ligament injury towards the end of the Premier League season with Arsenal.
Ed Fulton, trading spokesman for Sporting Index, said: "The Confederations Cup curse has claimed a few big scalps in the last twenty years, none more so than Brazil. Their poorest World Cup performances have followed on from winning the Confederations Cup, not least their earliest exit in 16 years when they were defeated by France in 2006. The country also suffered a humiliating worst - ever defeat to Germany when they were thrashed 7 - 1 in the 2014 World Cup semi-final on their own soil."
"With Germany looking to win back to back World Cups next year in Russia, it'll be interesting to see who triumphs between Joachim Lowe's side and Chile in the Confederations Cup final this Sunday. They could be the nation to break the mould and put the Confederations Cup curse to bed by seeing off Mexico this weekend and returning to Russia next year as world champions."