Just three matches into the Confederations Cup, Brazil and Spain have already made it clear they won't be stopped on their way to the final.
Let's take a look at the results from the early action in Brazil, the groups and then Spain and Brazil's path to the final.
Saturday, June 15
Brazil 3, Japan 0
Sunday, June 16
Italy 2, Mexico 1
Spain 2, Uruguay 1
Here is how the two groups look for this esteemed tournament:
2013 Confederations Cup Groups
|Group A||Group B|
Breaking Down Spain and Brazil's Paths to Final
Spain clearly has the easier path here. The world's top team should have little trouble handling Nigeria and Tahiti.
They've already beaten Uruguay, who figure to be their biggest competition for advancing from this group.
Spain's win over Uruguay was not as close as the 2-1 score would suggest, either. Uruguay did not earn their goal until the 88th minute.
Spain never left Uruguay with much of a chance in this one. According to the Associated Press (h/t Sports Illustrated), the skilled Spanish side dominated possession with a 71 percent mark in the category.
This is not shocking. With Spain's world-class midfield, they have used their ability to control possession to the top of the world pecking order.
Barring something insanely unforeseen happening, Spain will advance as the top seed from Group B.
Brazil will do the same in Group A.
However, their path is certainly a little more difficult. Brazil easily handled Japan in the opener, but Italy and Mexico will provide a stiffer challenge.
After Italy's 2-1 win over Mexico, the Italians have the inside track at being the second team to advance, but they still don't have what it takes to handle Brazil.
The typically defensive-minded Italians have become a more balanced team under the guidance of manager Cesare Prandelli. Still, Italy suffer through an inconsistent attack and it is tough to see them finding much success against a Brazil defense led by Dani Alves and Thiago Silva.
All of this leads me to believe that Brazil will take on Uruguay in what should be a fun semifinal.
Uruguay will have a better chance at cracking the Brazilian defense than Italy, but with scorers like Neymar and Hulk, Brazil will be able to outlast their opponent.
In the other semi, it looks like Spain and Italy are headed for a repeat of last year's European Championship. Spain cruised with a 4-0 win and there is nothing to suggest that Italy have the ability to be four goals better against Spain this time around.
That sets up for the Brazil-Spain final. While Spain would have to be considered the favorite, being the host country, the young Brazil team will get a boost from the home fans.
I believe this will set up for an epic final and I'm completely confident this is the final we will get.
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