After two Confederations Cup matches on Wednesday, the top teams in Group A continued to separate themselves from the pack.
Brazil once again had an impressive effort against Mexico with a 2-0 win in the early match. In the evening contest, Italy and Japan put together a fantastic show, with Italy escaping with a 4-3 victory.
Here is a look at the updated standings of the two groups.
Brazil 2, Mexico 0
(Neymar 9', Jô 90' +3')
Neymar continued to show why he is such a highly rated player with another impressive performance against Mexico.
After scoring in the third minute against Japan, he slowed down a bit by needing nine minutes to get his first goal against Mexico. It was quite an impressive display on a volley with his left foot from outside of the box.
Although Brazil struggled to get opportunities for the rest of the first half, Mexico did not have many more chances in the final third.
In the final 45 minutes, the host squad continued to control possession until finally getting a second goal thanks to another solid effort by Neymar, who tallied an assist on the play.
This performance certainly has people excited for the young player to join Barcelona next season, including ESPN:
For Mexico, this is a continuation of the squad's offensive struggles that have plagued El Tri throughout World Cup qualifying. As ESPN's Paul Carr notes, it is has been a while since the team has scored:
Giovani dos Santos scored on a penalty shot against Italy, but that is not quite cutting it for this squad.
Still, Brazil is clearly having no such problem as it looks to win the Confederations Cup for the third time in a row.
Italy 4, Japan 3
(Keisuke Honda 21' PEN, Shinji Kagawa 33', Shinji Okazaki 69') (Daniele De Rossi 41', Atsuto Uchida 50' OG, Mario Balotelli 52' PEN, Sebastian Giovinco 86')
This battle, which featured a fantastic effort from both sides, was one of the best international matches you will see in a long time.
In the early going, Japan saw big contributions from its star players. Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was called for a foul in the box, which led to a penalty shot for Keisuke Honda. The midfielder drove the ball in to give his side the 1-0 advantage.
Shinji Kagawa then showed his skill by tapping a volley past the world-class keeper to go ahead 2-0.
Unfortunately, that lead did not last too long. Daniele De Rossi cut the lead in half with a score just before the half, but it was a number of mistakes by the Japanese defense that truly turned around the match.
First, the squad suffered an own goal by Atsuto Uchida in the 50th minute. Then, a handball in the box allowed Mario Balotelli to give Italy a 3-2 advantage on a penalty kick.
Tommy Smyth of ESPN notes how quickly things changed in this matchup:
However, this back-and-forth match did not end there. Japan was once again able to get the equalizer when Shinji Okazaki headed a ball in at the 69th minute.
The 3-3 score remained and it appeared as though it would end in a draw. That was until Sebastian Giovinco recorded the go-ahead goal in the 86th minute.
A late offside eliminated a fourth goal for Japan, and Italy was able to hold on for the amazing victory. In the end, the Twitter account @SoccerrProblems might have said it best:
Fans can only hope that the rest of the Confederations Cup can be as exciting.
The Confederations Cup continues with all of Group B in action. Spain takes on Tahiti at 3 p.m. ET in the early match before Nigeria and Uruguay battle at 6 p.m. ET.
By the end of the day, we could have a very good idea of which teams will be advancing to the next stage of this tournament.
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