Italy – Brazil 22.06.2013
By winning two opening matches in group A at FIFA Confederations Cup, Brazil and Italy secured their places in the semi-finals of the competition.
Nevertheless, it remains to be seen which team will finish the group stages in first place and avoid the reigning world champions Spain in the semis.
Italy did remarkably well to defeat Mexico at the start of the Confederations Cup and then battled back to overcome 0:2 deficit in the clash against Japan (4:3). With two victories the Azzurri advanced to the semi-finals but in order to avoid Spain, Cesare Prandelliˈs men will have to defeat Brazil, as they have worse goal difference. Mario Balotelli has already scored two goals in Brazil and he is eager to continue his brilliant goal-scoring run against the South American giants. Nonetheless, four-time World Cup winners should face difficulties as they will be without key player Andrea Pirlo and important defensive midfielder Daniele De Rossi. The game against Brazil should be the first big test for the European vice-champions. Without the duo the Italians are likely to lose this clash against the hosts, meaning they should face Spain in the semi-finals. If I were Cesare Prandelli I would rest key players for the semi-final against the World champions.
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Brazil, the hosts of the Confederations Cup 2013, have lost only one competitive game at home ground in the last 50 years and they are brimming with confidence ahead of the clash against Italy. Selecao have won two opening matches at the tournament, against Japan and Mexico without conceding a goal, meaning that the team have been pretty solid at the back. New Barcelona player Neymar produced impressive performances in both encounters, with the striker scoring two goals and making one brilliant assist. Neymar should make a lot of problems to Italyˈs defenders as they are not very quick. Brazil are considered hot favourites to win this clash against the Italians, who have some injury worries. Everything but the win for Brazil, who famously defeated the Italians on penalties to win the World Cup in 1994, would be a major surprise in this clash.