International Football

Brazil vs. Uruguay: Selecao Will Easily Advance to 2013 Confederations Cup Final

SALVADOR, BRAZIL - JUNE 22:  Dante of Brazil (C) celebrates scoring their first goal with team mates during the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Group A match between Italy and Brazil at Estadio Octavio Mangabeira (Arena Fonte Nova Salvador) on June 22, 2013 in Salvador, Brazil.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images
Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2013

If the Confederations Cup is a sign of things to come for Brazil, then the country will be holding a second Carnival in 2014 after the Selecao lift the World Cup.

Brazil have looked very strong in their three group matches at the tournament, winning them all by a combined score of 9-2. Group A looked to be very competitive, but the Selecao were the only team to finish with a positive goal differential.

Granted, it's only the Confederations Cup, but beating Mexico, Italy and Japan is a nice accomplishment.

Getting past their semifinal opponents, Uruguay, shouldn't be a major issue if Brazil continue playing like they did in the group stage. They have been the second best team in the tournament, behind Spain. It's a pleasant surprise, considering how mediocre they had looked coming into the Confederations Cup.

Coming into the tournament, one of the storylines to watch involved the hosts. Brazil don't have the qualifying process with which Luiz Felipe Scolari can get a good look at his squad and figure out his best XI.

Instead, he has to rely on friendlies, which can be a major hindrance because you're not playing competitive matches.

This tournament was a major test for Brazil, and up to this point, they have passed with flying colors.

The same cannot be said for Uruguay.

They've struggled in World Cup qualifying and have displayed exactly why in this tournament. Uruguay were thoroughly outclassed by Spain and were only marginally better than Nigeria. Edinson Cavani has been the biggest underachiever, missing quite a few great chances on goal.

There's too much talent in the squad for the team to be playing as poorly as it is. It wasn't all that long ago that Uruguay looked like one of the best teams in the world. The drop-off has been pretty steep over the last year.

While Brazil aren't without their problems, they have looked so good in every aspect of the pitch during the Confederations Cup.

Although they don't have a world-class centre-forward on which they can rely, the Selecao have Neymar and Hulk on the wings. Both are very good cutting in, while the full-backs supply the width with their forward runs.

Neymar, in particular, has been fantastic, scoring in each of his team's three games. It's great timing for the youngster, as he's preparing for his move to Barcelona. Even some of his most vehement critics have to acknowledge that he has fully delivered in this tournament.

On the other side of the pitch, the Selecao look assured.

Even with David Luiz's broken nose, Brazil's back four is in safe hands. Scolari has the luxury of bringing in Dante, who's been one of the best defenders in the Bundesliga. Dani Alves has done well in getting forward and hasn't been too much of a liability by running too high up the pitch.

Brazil haven't been the perfect squad and have shown their fair share of issues. The question is whether or not Uruguay will be able to exploit those issues. Given their problems in the group stage, it's hard to envision Uruguay turning it on against Brazil.

Oscar Tabarez's side have looked disorganized in midfield and wasteful in the attack. If they continue to give up possession, Oscar, Luiz Gustavo and Paulinho will have no trouble getting out on the counter. Dante and Thiago Silva should be able to rein in Cavani and Luis Suarez.

This match isn't going to get too out of hand. Brazil should be able to win this one rather comfortably, though, by two or three goals.

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