Confederations Cup 2013: Bold Predictions and Preview for Spain vs. Italy
Brazil has already earned a spot in the Confederations Cup final. Spain and Italy will now battle to see which squad is able to join them.
While this international competition often features battles between unfamiliar opponents, these two squads know each other quite well.
The two battled twice during Euro 2012 and once more in a friendly last season. In those matches, each side had one win, with a draw coming in the third contest. Of course, Spain got a 4-0 win in the most important battle, in the European Championship final.
Still, this is certain to be a competitive match from start to finish, with either team capable of pulling off a victory. Here are some bold predictions to look for in the upcoming battle.
The 1st Half Goes Scoreless
Spain does a lot of things very well, including the ability to score almost at will. Not only was the team able to rack up 10 goals against Tahiti, but it has five goals in the other two matches in the group stage.
With the team's world-class midfield and a group of talented forwards including Fernando Torres, Pedro and others, it is incredibly difficult to keep Spain off the board.
However, Italy has the ability to keep this match low scoring. The team is excellent defensively, anchored by one of the best keepers in the world in Gianluigi Buffon. The back line can stay in front of the ball and force tough shots from far away.
It might be nearly impossible to keep Spain off the board for the duration of the match, but the first half should remain calm as both sides get a feel for the pace of this semifinal.
Goals Come From Unexpected Places
With Mario Balotelli out with a thigh injury, Italy will need someone else to step up in the forward's absence.
The squad has veterans like Andrea Pirlo and Alberto Gilardino that know what it takes to play at a high level, but it would be better off if some of the younger players are able to have big performances in this one.
On the other side, goals have been coming from everywhere for Spain in this tournament, but Italy is strong enough defensively to slow down the opposing offense. This could force the squad to get a little more creative.
Watch for someone like Jordi Alba to make a run toward the net and get a key goal in the match.
The Winning Score Comes In Final Minutes
Few teams know what it takes to stick with Spain for a full 90 minutes. However, Italy is one of those squads with the experience and talent to make this a close match.
Unfortunately, injuries and a lack of offensive threats could limit the team's chances of coming away with a victory.
This match should remain close throughout, with the two sides trading goals in the second half to make the score 1-1 late. In the final few minutes, however, Spain should take control and do what it takes to get a second goal to put the team up for good.
The reigning World Cup champs have proven time and again that the squad has what it takes to win in many ways.
Spain will once again come through, with a 2-1 victory, to reach the finals against Brazil.
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