Brazil stands two wins away from its third consecutive Confederations Cup title after rolling through Group A. The host nation's semifinal opponent is Uruguay, which dropped its opener to Spain before bouncing back to advance.
Rumors of a Selecao demise were clearly overblown, as the once dominant squad has played some extraordinary football early in the tournament. With the World Cup in Brazil less than a year away, winning the Confederations Cup would provide a well-timed boost of confidence.
Uruguay entered the event as a dangerous sleeper outside the spotlight of Brazil, Spain and Italy. Although the Celeste don't feature as much depth as their fellow semifinalists, they have enough top-end talent to pull off a shocker.
Let's take a glance at all the important information for the final-four clash, followed by a breakdown of some players to watch and a prediction for which side will reach the championship match.
Where: Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte, Brazil
When: Wednesday, June 26 at 3 p.m. ET
Live Stream: ESPN3.com
Brazil Player to Watch: Neymar
Neymar entered the tournament with an enormous amount of pressure on his shoulders. Not only was he expected to lead a Brazilian resurgence, but the young superstar had just completed a deal to join powerhouse Barcelona ahead of next season.
Many players would have wilted in the same situation. The 21-year-old forward has taken on the challenge without missing a beat. He's scored a goal in all three matches so far and made some eye-popping plays along the way.
He can't stop now, though. The level of competition is going to increase even further during the knockout stages. Neymar must continue to lead the way if Brazil is going to win another Confederations Cup title. He certainly has the talent to make it happen.
Uruguay Player to Watch: Luis Suarez
While Uruguay are often overshadowed by South American giants Brazil and Argentina, the country continues to build an impressive squad of its own. The group is led by a dangerous attacking trio, which Suarez leads with three goals in the tournament.
What makes Suarez special is his finishing ability. He's not the fastest or strongest player on the pitch, but when he gets an opportunity in a scoring area, he possesses the final touch necessary to convert at a high-rate. He can make a major impact even with limited touches.
It will be interesting to see how Uruguay approaches the match. It can either attempt to play Brazil's open style or try to slow down the pace and counterattack. Either way, Suarez will be expected to make a couple key plays if the Celeste are going to move on.
Matchup to Watch: Battle of the dynamic attacks
Both teams are capable of a goal-scoring explosion. That's what makes this semifinal so intriguing. It should develop into an open, free-flowing match with good scoring chances on both ends. Quite simply, the side that takes advantage of those chances will reach the final.
Brazil is led by Neymar. But it's the secondary attacking options that must step up. Players like Fred, Hulk and Oscar must ensure that if Uruguay are able to keep the new Barcelona man from scoring, Brazil can still produce enough offense.
As for Uruguay, the striker trio of Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan must maintain their strong form. All three are capable of taking over the match, including the resurgent Forlan. So, it's impossible to count out the underdogs.
Ultimately, however, the pace should benefit Brazil. The Selecao will reach the Confederations Cup final yet again.
Brazil 3, Uruguay 2
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