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Football tournaments to follow this summer

Monday May 20, 2019

 The arrival of summer has a tendency to bring football fans blinking, mole-like, out into the open, at something of a loss as to what to do with themselves.

 This holds as true for the Tamworth faithful as it does elsewhere in the country. Last year, of course, it was a different matter. We had just a few short weeks to catch our breath, and then the World Cup was on us.

 Being an odd-numbered year, there is no World or European Cup to get your teeth into or lure you onto any online bookmaker sites – at least not in the conventional sense. However, there are other tournaments going on around the world that might just capture your attention and even tempt you into laying down a pound or two. Let’s take a look at what’s going on, along with some suggestions as to whom you might back.

 Copa Americas

 Essentially, this is the South American version of the European Cup, although since the 1990s, it has also been open to teams from North American and Asia. 12 teams are taking part, and while host nation Brazil are favourites, this is a tournament that always seems to throw up surprises. If you’re looking to back a team, a conservative approach with a special such as a draw no bet wager is potentially a good plan for individual matches, while for the title itself, it’s worth noting that Uruguay always seems to do well in this tournament and has won it more than any other team.

 Conifa European Cup

 You will have noted the caveat that there is no European Cup this year “in the conventional sense.” The Conifa European Cup is a version of the event for non-FIFA-affiliated clubs. This means teams that represent disputed de facto nations, specific ethnic groups within countries, or perhaps islands that are not sovereign states. Conifa is a not-for-profit organisation, run purely on a voluntary basis, and it brings football to people who often don’t have much to smile about. This year’s tournament is being held in Artsakh, a de facto nation in the Caucasus that has been the subject of dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan for many years. Padania has won both previous Conifa European Cups, and has only dropped one game in tournament history, so will be the strong favourite with the bookmakers.

 Major League Soccer

 MLS still has some way to go to reach the level of the top European leagues. However, the big-name players who spent time there, such as Thierry Henry (NY Reb Bulls), David Beckham (LA Galaxy) and, most recently, Wayne Rooney, who joined bottom-ranked DC United, make it something we can’t help keeping half an eye on. The season is still in its early stages, but the two LA teams, United and Galaxy, are the early favourites for the MLS Cup. If you are more interested in backing the fortunes of individuals, Wayne Rooney is a 20/1 shot for top goalscorer, having brought a change of fortunes to DC, while Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic is at 37/19.

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