The 2013 Confederations Cup will kick off from Brazil this June, as eight nations, including some of the world's top international squads square off in the two-week-long tournament which is contended every four years as a warm-up for the World Cup.
Reigning Confederations Cup champion and host Brazil headlines the list of teams set to battle for the Cup this June. Spain, Italy and Mexico will also be in the mix as each team is guaranteed at least three matches.
After 12 group matches, the top two teams in each group will advance to the knockout stage, which will conclude with the final on Sunday, June 30.
Below we'll get you set with all of the information you need to make sure you don't miss a single match this summer.
2013 Confederations Cup TV Schedule
|Saturday, June 15||3 p.m. ET||Brasilia||Brazil vs. Japan||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Sunday, June 16||3 p.m. ET||Rio De Janeiro||Mexico vs. Italy||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Wednesday, June 19||3 p.m. ET||Fortaleza||Brazil vs. Mexico||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Wednesday, June 19||6 p.m. ET||Recife||Italy vs. Japan||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Saturday, June 22||3 p.m. ET||Salvador||Italy vs. Brazil||ESPN News||WatchESPN|
|Saturday, June 22||3 p.m. ET||Belo Horizonte||Japan vs. Mexico||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Sunday, June 16||6 p.m. ET||Recife||Spain vs. Uruguay||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Monday, June 17||3 p.m. ET||Belo Horizonte||Tahiti vs. Nigeria||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Thursday, June 20||3 p.m. ET||Rio De Janeiro||Spain vs. Tahiti||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Thursday, June 20||6 p.m. ET||Salvador||Nigeria vs. Uruguay||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Sunday, June 23||3 p.m. ET||Fortaleza||Nigeria vs. Spain||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Sunday, June 23||3 p.m. ET||Recife||Uruguay vs. Tahiti||ESPN2||WatchESPN|
|Wednesday, June 26||3 p.m. ET||Belo Horizonte|| |
Group A (1) vs. Group B (2)
|Thursday, June 27||3 p.m. ET||Fortaleza||Group B (1) vs. Group A (2)||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Sunday, June 30||12 p.m. ET||Salvador||Third-Place Game||ESPN2||WatchESPN|
|Sunday, June 30||6 p.m. ET||Rio De Janeiro||Final ||ESPN||WatchESPN|
*Information courtesy of ESPNMediaZone.com.
Countries to Watch
The question everyone is asking heading into the start of the 2013 Confederations Cup: What do the hosts have in store for us this summer?
One of the planet's top football nations, Brazil is routinely ranked atop the FIFA rankings, but a lack of success at the World Cup in recent years has brought captain Thiago Silva and company down to earth.
Brazil last won the World Cup in 2002, but it will be hosting football's biggest event next summer for the first time since 1950. No nation has won the World Cup more times than Brazil, which has five World Cup titles since 1958.
With electrifying young striking talent Neymar leading the way, the hosts, along with Spain, look like the favorites to capture the Cup in Rio de Janeiro.
Keep in mind that Brazil has won the last two Confederations Cup tournaments, winning it in Germany in 2005 and South Africa in 2009, coming from behind to defeat the United States in the final four years ago.
One of the dark-horse teams to watch for this summer and next year at the 2014 World Cup is Japan.
Led by sensational attacking midfielder Keisuke Honda, the Japanese look poised to challenge for a berth in the knockout stage this June.
Runner-up at the 2001 Confederations Cup, Japan is no stranger to this stage. The Asian powerhouse has taken part in the Confederations Cup four times since 1995 and has earned a berth in the Round of 16 at the World Cup twice since 2002.
Unfortunately, Japan will have to battle some of the globe's best teams in group play. It will open up against Brazil on Day 1 before before taking on Italy and then Mexico. All three of Japan's group stage opponents are ranked inside the FIFA Top 20.
To no one's surprise, the reigning European and World Cup champions look strong heading into this summer's Confederations Cup.
Led by leading goal scorer Pedro, who has five goals in UEFA qualification, the Spanish have excelled on both ends of the pitch, scoring goals and playing lights-out defense in front of goal.
The veteran-laden unit has absolutely owned the international stage over the past five years, winning the European Championship in 2008 and 2012 and winning the World Cup in between in 2010. The key to Spain's success is holding the ball and executing short, accurate passes.
Unless a team can disrupt its flow in Brazil, Spain should easily win Group B and advance to the knockout stage.
Vicente del Bosque's squad will open up Group B play against Uruguay, who it easily defeated 3-1 in a friendly match last February.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.
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