Brazil isn’t the only club that’s been dominant in Group A of the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup.
Italy—who, like Brazil, is undefeated entering their showdown on Saturday—hasn’t dominated to the extent of the Brazilians. It only won each of its matches by one goal, compared to Brazil who boasts a goal differential of five and has yet to surrender a score. Still, with the Italians’ offense firing on all cylinders combined with their knack for finding ways to win, they’re more than capable of besting Brazil.
Here’s what they must do to pull off the upset.
3. Keep Ball Away From Neymar Early
Will Neymar strike again vs. Italy?
Neymar scored nine minutes into the Brazilians’ bout vs. Mexico and just three minutes into their match against Japan. If Italy plays keep away with Neymar early—the most effective way to stop the goal-scoring phenom from putting a dent in the scoreboard nowadays—it won’t find itself in a hole before it can say Gianluigi Buffon like the Mexicans and Japanese were. Those are his only two goals of the tournament thus far.
2. Protect Gianluigi Buffon
Even at 35 years old, Buffon is still one of the best goalkeepers on the planet, but he surrendered three goals for the first time since Nov. 3 of last year against Japan on Wednesday. Don’t blame him—the Japanese managed to attempt nine shots on goal. If it weren’t for his six saves, Italy would’ve fallen.
Brazil’s resistance is far too strong for the Italians to play haphazard defense and force Buffon to carry the club to victory.
1. Maintain Offensive Efficiency
Italy must make every offensive opportunity count against the stout Brazilians. It converted on two of six shots on goal against Mexico and an incredible four of five against Japan. If Mario Balotelli and the Italians continue to take advantage of their quality looks, they’ll give Brazil a scare at the very least.
David Daniels is a breaking news writer at Bleacher Report and news editor at Wade-O Radio.