Day 2 of the 2013 Confederations Cup looked like it would be a great day of football, and it duly delivered.
There were some beautiful goals and two teams that established themselves as two top contenders.
Considering the tournament's standing in international football when compared to the World Cup and European Championship, this tournament has been a joy to watch in its first two days. If the rest of the event offers a similar quality, fans are in for a ride.
Here's a quick recap for each of the matches from Day 2 of the Confederations Cup
Italy 2, Mexico 1
This was the Andrea Pirlo and Mario Balotelli show for Italy. The Azzurri picked up a deserved three points against Mexico after dominating the entire match. You can see a breakdown of the stats below.
Mexico came into the match on a rather poor run of form. El Tri weren't losing their matches, but the way in which they drew offered little positives for supporters. They continued that form on Sunday.
It was the 100th national team cap for Pirlo, and he celebrated the proper way—scoring in the 27th minute with a beautiful free kick from 25 yards out.
The Dirty Tackle's Brooks Peck summed up the kick well.
Andrea Pirlo is magic.— dirtytackle (@BrooksDT) June 16, 2013
Andrea Barzagli surrendered a penalty kick seven minutes later. It was a clear foul on Giovani dos Santos, and a case could be made Barzagli deserved to be sent off. Javier Hernandez stepped up and scored on the penalty kick to level the score.
That was the last real action of the match for Mexico. As the game went on, Italy started dominating more and more.
The Azzurri weren't able to turn their possession into goals, mostly because of José de Jesús Corona in goal. He was massive and there to save Mexico on multiple occasions.
Right when all seemed lost, and Italy would have to live with a draw, it was Balotelli displaying his prodigious talent. It looked like Super Mario was blanketed as he received a short lofted pass from Emanuele Giaccherini. Instead, Balotellli pushed his way through the defense and knocked home the winning goal.
The way with which Super Mario muscled in for the goal is astounding, but Serie A blogger Aaron Giambattista correctly points out that Giaccherini deserves plaudits as well.
BALOTELLI IS AMAZING LETS COMPLETELY IGNORE THAT BRILLIANT ASSIST FROM GIACCHERINI CAUSE THATS THE THING OF THE DAY— Aaron Giambattista (@agiamba) June 16, 2013
Getting the three points is vital for Italy. Group A is stacked, so to be able to jump to second place is huge.
Jose Manuel de la Torre has a lot of work to do with Mexico. El Tri didn't look like they even believed they could win. The performances of Corona and Giovani dos Santos were the only positives to take out of this loss.
Spain 2, Uruguay 1
For 88 minutes, this match was firmly all Spain. There were plenty of expectations surrounding the reigning world and European champions, and they delivered in every regard.
Luis Suarez scored in the 88th off a beauty of a free kick, but that was largely the sole highlight for Ururguay. They were thoroughly outclassed by Spain, and the numbers attest to that.
There were some questions as to how Vicente del Bosque would select his starting XI. He answered the big ones by going with Roberto Soldado as a centre-forward and Sergio Busquets as the sole defensive midfielder. Both moves were a departure from how del Bosque lined up Spain at Euro 2012.
Spain got lucky in the 20th minute when Pedro's shot was deflected in for the goal. It wasn't the most beautiful goal you've ever seen, but it counts all the same.
Soldado repaid del Bosque's faith by scoring in the 32nd minute. He did very well to position himself onside so he could fire in the goal.
Spanish football writer David Cartlidge made note that the manager should be very happy with the striker's performance.
Soldado performed well, didn't do much wrong. Goal, dropped off well to link play, tracked in right flank at times too. VdB should be happy.— David (@davidjaca) June 16, 2013
Uruguay have a lot of quality attackers, but Spain did so well to control the ball and take those attackers out of the game. You can't score if you don't have the ball. That was the story for Uruguay as they could never maintain possession and create chances in the attacking third.
Just when it looked like Spain were going to walk away with a well-deserved clean sheet, Suarez pull magic out of his boots. He must have seen Pirlo's free kick and didn't want to be outdone.
This is a huge win for the Spaniards. Zonal Marking's Michael Cox explains exactly why.
So Spain can rest players against Tahiti and then rest players once they've already qualified. Then be very very fresh for the KO stage— Michael Cox (@Zonal_Marking) June 16, 2013
The loss isn't a monumental one for Uruguay. They should be able to win their next two matches and finish second in the group.