FIFA Confederations Cup 2009: Brazil vs Italy, Egypt vs USA
Today, June 21, 2009, the semifinalists of the 2009 Confederations Cup were determined in South Africa. The day featured two key matches:
1. Brazil versus the 2006 FIFA World Cup champions Italy, and
2. Egypt versus the United States
Brazil vs Italy
The first match between Brazil and Italy became a dramatic meet with the 2006 FIFA World Champions failing to restrain Brazil. Halfway through the first half, Brazil attacked vigorously, trying to unnerve Italian defense. Italy’s goaltender – legendary Gianluigi Buffon was bombarded heavily by the Brazilian offense by the 30th minute mark, but Italian keeper made some terrific saves. For a while it seemed nothing can crumble Buffon’s poise, but in a matter of minutes Buffon was fooled by the Brazilian striker Luis Fabiano who put in an easy goal into Buffon's gates in the 37th minute. Two more goals followed in a span of eight minutes. The second followed in the 43rd minute from the same Luis Fabiano with assist from Kaka. The third goal in the game came from Italy’s own defender Andrea Dossena, whose legs came in the way of the ball sent in by Robinho, deflecting it straight into the gates of Buffon. In the second half, Italy was visibly more determined to try and change the course of the game, but Brazilian defense would not let the 2006 world champions capitalize. Notably, famous Brazilian striker Kaka had two very close attempts on goal, but failed to find the net two times. The 27-year-old football star was recently transferred from AC Milan to Real Madrid for a fee that was record high. In the end, Italy is out of contention and is heading home to rethink its preparation efforts in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Today, the Italian team seemed incohesive, lacking team dynamics and physical fitness. The Brazilian team was not at its strongest either, with many stars from the 2006 World Cup line-up missing from the match, but Brazilians managed to pull through with a confident 0-3 victory over Italy.
It was the first time Italy has conceded three goals before half-time since 1957.
Egypt vs the United States
In today's second match, Egypt faced the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup winners team USA. Egypt has been showing a decent game at the 2009 Confederations Cup so far, beating Italy 1-0 and playing 4-3 with Brazil. But today, the team came undone, losing 0-3 to the United States. The US team needed nothing short of a miracle to advance to the semifinals and they managed to do just that. The Americans played mediocre games, losing 1-3 to Italy and 0-3 to Brazil, but they came in strong against Egypt today, winning 0-3 in the end. Three teams in Group B (Brazil, Italy, Egypt, USA) could rival for second place with Italy, Egypt and USA all having won one game and lost two games. Hence, it was the goal difference that decided which team would advance to semifinals. Team USA conceded the least number of goals (6), having scored 4. Team Egypt scored 4 goals total as well, but conceded one too many (7). Had the Italian team scored at least one goal against Brazil today, they would have advanced by goal difference.
As the result, the 2008 UEFA Euro champions Spain will now face team USA in the semifinal on Wednesday, June 24. Today's big winner Brazil will face South Africa on June 25 in the second semifinal. The Cup’s finals will take place on June 28 in Johannesburg.
My predication is that team Spain will reach the finals and take the Cup. The Spaniards seem to be overly confident and quite unstoppable this year. The team is leading in its 2010 World Cup qualifier group 5, having won all six games played so far. Of course, team Brazil remains a huge threat. Having both Spain and Brazil advance to the finals would make for a great football treat for fans around the world.