The International Champions Cup is returning for its seventh edition, and it’s only just over one month away. In total, there are 16 venues from six different countries that will be fortunate to host this event, which has attracted record-breaking attendance in the past. From the USA, to China, to Wales, people from all over the globe can see some of the biggest football clubs in action in their home city. Now, these players are either on international duty for their respective countries or just putting their feet up on vacation after a long winded season. However, soon they’ll be returning to pre-season training in the coming weeks, as they’ll prepare for this tournament and another exhilarating season ahead.
How the Tournament Works
There will be 12 teams in this year’s tournament, with each team playing three matches against randomly allocated opponents. Whoever obtains the most points from their three matches, will be crowned champions. As always, you’ll receive three points for a victory, and none if you lose. Unlike sharing the spoils in a draw (1 point apiece), instead it goes straight to a penalty shootout, and you are rewarded two points if you win, or one point if you lose that shootout.
Tottenham are the current holders after winning the 2018 edition. They managed to win two games, 4-1 against Roma, and 1-0 against AC Milan, whilst also losing a penalty shoot-out to Barcelona to get 7 points. They managed to win it on goal difference so they’ll be the defending champions this year. In the other five editions, winners include Juventus, Barcelona, Inter Milan, PSG and Real Madrid.
Favourites in 2019?
The International Champions Cup is one of the hardest tournaments to predict due to its timing in the football season. For the bettors, there are no ‘safe bets’, and instead, each bet has a risk. Therefore, for the high reward high-risk bettors, this competition gives you fantastic prospects to maximise your winnings by being bold with your prediction. Betting on this competition can increase your enjoyment due to its unpredictability, as long as you do it at one of the SolicitorsGuru expert-approved online casinos for the safest experience.
As it’s a pre-season friendly competition, it’s important to acknowledge some factors going into the tournament. For example, last year, players that participated in the FIFA 2018 World Cup were likely to miss the tournament, particularly if their country progressed to the latter stages. For this year, there isn’t a World Cup, but South American players will be involved in Copa America, and African players will be involved in the African Cup of Nations. If a team has certain key players from those countries – I wouldn’t be backing them! Here are my five favourites from my gut intuition and I’ll explain why.
Current holders, and will have a fresh squad as no players will be involved on international duty over the next few weeks. The likes of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min will want to push themselves to the limits to prove they are back to full fitness with the new season ahead. Always a danger, and capable of beating any team.
New manager Antonio Conte will take charge of Inter Milan this season, and his first job is to create a winning mentality within the squad. All of the players will be using the International Champions Cup as a platform to express their abilities. Therefore, I can see them getting some decent wins against the likes of Manchester United, Juventus and Tottenham.
The Old Lady are one of the sturdiest opponents in Europe, and due to their resoluteness, it’ll be tough for any other team to beat them. The chances of Juventus winning are perhaps dependent on whether Cristiano Ronaldo will be in action or not. He has recently won the UEFA Nations League, so he may be unavailable for the tournament. If he’s fit, Juventus will have a brilliant chance.
No team finished the season stronger than Benfica, who managed to win the Portuguese title playing a silky brand of football. It was a huge turn around mid-way through the season when manager Bruno Lage was brought in. Young star Joao Felix stole the show, and he’ll want to impress in this international tour. Benfica would be my dark horses for the tournament.
“Football is a simple game – 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.” This quote sums up Bayern Munich very well, who are serial winners every season. Always guaranteed to either win the league, cup or Champions League. They are still yet to win this competition though, so there is an extra incentive for them here.