Brazil WCB Confederations Cup Preview
Cup holders Brazil start their quest for a third consecutive Confederations Cup title when they host Japan tomorrow afternoon.
Six cities will play host to the tournament, with Brasilia hosting the opener, and Rio de Janeiro the final for the eight team event.
Brazil’s group contains Italy, Japan, and Mexico. The Italians should be Brazil’s greatest challenge led by the young attacking duo to Stephan El Shaarawy and Mario Balotelli who will be a big challenge for the back four. They are well managed, with the deepest roster in the group, and a draw would be a good result for Brazil against them.
Mexico comes to Brazil in terrible form, scoreless in their last three home matches, and on the brink of making a managerial change. They are led by Manchester United forward Javier Hernandez. Their woeful midfield play has completely shut down their offensive capability. I think Brazil beats them easily when the two sides play on June 19th.
Japan is also led by a Manchester United tailsman in midfielder Shinji Kagawa. They are a hard working side that Brazil will need to be careful not to take lightly in the opening match tomorrow. Again, this should be a match that Brazil takes three points from.
For the Seleção next two weeks provides an opportunity to continue the progress being made under Luiz Felipe Scolari that is evident after the team’s 3-0 on Sunday.
Brazil enters the Cup as favorites due to not only talent, but being the host nation this year. However, winning the Confederations Cup has never translated into World Cup success for any nation since the tournament was created in 1992.
We should be measuring this tournament by consistency, quality midfield play, and progress at the striker position rather than the final result. This Brazil team is probably not ready to beat the Spanish, and perhaps the Italians as well. However, if they are putting together 90 minutes of good football every match, I personally will be satisfied for now.
My biggest concern during the next couple of weeks is that the team does not make it to the final and the suits at the CBF do something stupid in response. 354 days before the World Cup is well beyond the point of no return with a manager. In my opinion, its Felipao or bust until July 14, 2014.
Group Standings: Brazil, Italy, Japan, Mexico
Spain, Uruguay, Nigeria, Tahiti
Final: Brazil v. Spain
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