Confederations Cup 2013: Biggest Takeaways from Early Round Action

Kyle NewportFeatured ColumnistJune 16, 2013

The Confederation Cup separated the pretenders from the contenders early on.
The Confederation Cup separated the pretenders from the contenders early on.Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Through the early games of the 2013 Confederations Cup, Brazil and the other favorites have made it clear that they are ready to play.

That was one of the takeaways that fans grabbed from the first two days of the tournament. 

Brazil is hosting the 2013 Confederations Cup, and it looks like it will have a chance to play in the finals. Playing on its own turf will be an advantage, but talent will ultimately prevail.

Here are the groups for the 2013 Confederations Cup, courtesy of FIFA's official website:

Group A Group B
Brazil Nigeria
Italy Spain
Japan Tahiti
Mexico Uruguay

Here are the matches that have already been played (all game recaps are courtesy of FIFA's official website):

Group Team Team Score Goals
    A Brazil Japan Brazil 3-0 Neymar 3' (BRA), Paulinho 48' (BRA), Jo 90'+3 (BRA)
    A Italy Mexico Italy 2-1 Andrea Pirlo 27' (ITA), Javier Hernandez 34' PK (MEX), Mario Balotelli 78' (ITA) 
    B Spain Uruguay Spain 2-1 Pedro 20' (ESP), Roberto Soldado 32' (ESP), Luis Suarez 88' (URU)


Group A is More Competitive

Everyone could tell when the groups were announced that Group A was more balanced, but the first two days confirmed it.

Japan was blown out by Brazil, but that match wasn't supposed to be much of a challenge for Brazil. Neymar opened the scoring just three minutes in, and Jo finished it in stoppage time. 

The most intriguing match of the day was Italy versus Mexico. This match probably decided who the second team out of Group A was going to be. 

It was a tight match for most of the game. Italy scored midway through the first half, but Mexico was able to answer moments later. It was a back-and-forth battle for the lead, but nobody was able to get the edge.

As the second half went on, Italy was finally able to break through. Mario Balotelli, of course, was able poke a ball past the goalie to give Italy the win. Not only did Italy get the win, but the team will now get a chance to challenge Brazil for Group A next weekend in what should be the best match of group play.


Spain Controls Group B

The final score was close, but Spain dominated its opening game. It was the only game that Spain was expected to be challenged in, but Uruguay was no match for Spain.

Although the final score was 2-1, Spain controlled the game. Had it not been for a goal in the final minutes by Uruguay, fans would have had a better understanding of how dominant Spain was.

Spain was able to get 17 shots compared to only four by Uruguay. It had possession for 75 percent of the game, and it was able to coast after getting two goals midway through the first half.

It was a pretty easy match for Spain, and it was supposed to be the toughest match of the round for them. Now it is in firm control of the group and should be preparing for the runner-up of Group A.

Nigeria and Tahiti won't present much of a challenge for Spain.


Stars Are Going to Control the Tournament

From the opening minutes of the 2013 Confederations Cup, it was obvious that the star players were going to be the deciding factors. That may seem obvious, but sometimes role players make the difference.

The way things are going early on, Spain will have a huge edge over everyone. Spain's roster is loaded with stars, but it didn't rely on its biggest stars.

Neymar gave Brazil an early lead that it wouldn't relinquish, Balotelli won the game for Italy and Luis Suarez gave Uruguay a chance late in the game.

Group A is going to be tough to win, so having stars will be the key. Brazil and Italy have stars on their rosters, and they showed that this weekend.

The semifinals and finals will be intriguing to see which stars will lead their teams to victory.