Confederations Cup 2013: Teams prepare for final group matches
Group A may have been settled, but there's still everything to play for in Group B
Saturday marks the third and final round of the group stage matches for Group A of the Confederations Cup held in Brazil.
So far we have seen some good football being played in what is an epic clash of continental champions.
Perhaps the best match so far has been Italy's 4-3 win over Japan - a seven-goal thriller which will be remembered as one of the Confederations Cup great games.
Group A, however, is in the bag for both Italy and hosts Brazil, who have shown promise not seen since the World Cup-winning squad of 2002.
This weekend Mexico will play Japan, and Italy face Brazil, in two matches that hold little meaning besides footballing pride.
Brazil will seek to defeat a shaky Italian side, but the Azzurri's defence might be able to put a stop to the powerful Brazilian attack led by Barcelona bound Neymar and Zenit’s crowd favourite Hulk.
To put it simply, Brazil need to outmuscle Italy’s midfield - a task the Japanese showed is very possible and only made easier by Brazil’s home advantage.
Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez will be looking to add to his goal-tally after Spain’s Fernando Torres and David Villa netted a total of seven goals between them in a dominant La Roja display against Tahiti in Group B – putting them in the top scorer positions for the tournament and leaving the Manchester United striker in the bottom half of the top scorer charts alongside Luis Suarez.
The Celeste striker has not performed as well as expected of him. The South American champions were expected to baffle defences and entertain fans with their powerful strike-force of Edinson Cavani, Luis Suarez and veteran Diego Forlan.
Uruguay’s current point tally of three argues otherwise. With a goal difference of zero, Nigeria sitting on a three point total with a +4 goal difference, have more reason to pull off a footballing miracle against the world champions on Sunday.
Group B’s future, however, could be decided by underdogs Tahiti. If the Super Eagles manage a win over Spain by one goal and Tahiti keep Uruguay’s score line at four or less – and maybe even net a couple themselves – they might just keep the South American champions out of the knock-out stages and we could see an unexpected Nigerian side into the final stages with Spain.
Group B is set to be decided on Sunday, and Group A concludes its final matches tomorrow night.
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