The 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup is officially upon us, as eight of the world's elite will be competing for undeniable momentum heading into the 2014 World Cup. With two groups of teams ready to make their mark, Brazil is going to be a lively place.
The question is, when and where can you watch the action?
In Group A, Brazil, Italy, Japan and Mexico will do battle in a competition of storied squads. Meanwhile, Spain and Uruguay highlight Group B, with Nigeria and Tahiti looking to break through and pull out monumental upsets.
Regardless of what transpires, this is certain to be an event to remember.
When: Saturday, June 15 through Sunday, June 30
Watch: ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN News
Live Stream: WatchESPN
|Group A||Group B|
|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|
Game to Watch: Italy vs. Brazil
Date: Saturday, June 22
Time: 3 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN News
Group A is highlighted by a group of top-tier squads, as Brazil, Italy, Japan and Mexico clash for pre-World Cup supremacy. While every game promises to be one of strong measures, no clash is quite as intriguing as that between Brazil and Italy.
If the home country hopes to work its way back into the top 20 of the FIFA rankings, taking down the Italians would be an excellent way to do so.
Brazil have been struggling recently, but their most recent affair saw them win 3-0 in an international friendly against France. The last time they played Italy was March 21, when they came to a 2-2 draw in a friendly. Brazil had been leading 2-0, but the Italians came back with a thunderous rally to tie things up before the clock expired.
In a rematch of these two decorated squads, both will be looking to gain a leg up on the competition as they approach the World Cup. As recent winners of the event, that's certain to create a tension-filled atmosphere.
This will be one to watch.
Player to Watch: Neymar, Brazil
2012-13 International Statistics: 17 Games Started, 12 Goals, 4 Assists
Group A has no shortage of standout performers, but no player is under quite as much pressure to produce as 21-year-old phenom Neymar. Not only has the Brazilian prodigy recently signed with famed FC Barcelona, but he's the face of one of the most storied international teams in world football history.
Stepping up at the Confederations Cup could be a step in the right direction for carving out his legacy.
Thus far, he's done pretty well.
Neymar was strong in international play during his 2012-13 campaign, tallying 12 goals and four assists in 17 games. In six 2013-14 international games, he has one goal and three assists. Brazil will need him to score at a significantly higher rate to win Group A.
He tallied an assist against France on June 9, which is an encouraging sign. With that being said, Italy, Mexico and Japan can all take Brazil down, and without Neymar scoring goals, that likelihood increases.
If Neymar manages to star in front of his home crowd, the critics may quiet down.