FIFA Confederations Cup 2013: Predicting Teams That Will Emerge from Group StageJune 17, 2013
The Confederations Cup is under way, but it’s still early enough to predict who will emerge from group play.
The top two teams that emerge out of both Group A and Group B will head to the knockout stage. While two of those spots will likely be held down by the powerhouse teams, the two others might actually be up for grabs.
Here are my predictions for the four teams that will emerge from the group stage.
It’s hard to root against the home team in this match, as they clearly have the fans on their side.
The Brazilians were able to make quick work of Japan, winning the match 3-0. They were able to get quick goals to start each half, with a goal in the third minute by Neymar and another one in the 48th minute by Paulinho. They finished off the match with a goal by Jo in extra time.
Having one of the hottest players in the world at the moment in Neymar certainly helps Brazil’s cause. He made a big play early in the match against Japan, and the team appears to be in sync.
Brazil will be searching for their third straight Confederations Cup after winning the previous two tournaments back in 2005 and 2009.
Considering how good they looked in their first match, they may well be on their way to another one.
I’m still not 100 percent convinced about Italy. They came into this tournament with two draws in their last two matches: a 2-2 draw to Haiti and a scoreless match against the Czech Republic, which left much to be desired from this team.
They looked better against Mexico, but they should have done better for how talented this team is. Andrea Pirlo was able to get a goal in the 27th minute, but Javier Hernandez was able to tie it up in the 34th. It wasn’t until the 78th minute that Mario Balotelli was able to give Italy the lead and eventually the win.
Italy still need to prove themselves to reassure everyone that they are a top-tier team in this tournament, but they shouldn’t have much trouble beating out Mexico and Japan to advance to the knockout stage.
No one is going against Spain in Group B, as they are arguably the best team in the entire tournament.
Two goals in the 20th and 32nd minutes gave the Spaniards a comfortable lead. Luis Suarez was able to narrow the gap in the 88th, but it was too little too late. Spain outshot Uruguay 17-4 and 6-2 for shots on goal. There was no doubt about who was in control, with Spain maintaining possession for 75 percent of the match.
After dominating Uruguay, it’s hard to see Tahiti or Nigeria keeping it close in either of Spain’s next two matches in group play. Expect Spain to sweep all three matches in Group B and calmly make their way to the knockout stage.
Sure, Uruguay lost pretty handily to Spain, but they are still a solid team with some real talent.
With Tahiti and Nigeria among the teams in Group B, Uruguay simply wins by process of elimination. Again, that’s not saying that this team is bad. Suarez is a terrific player and he gets plenty of help from Edinson Cavani in mounting a balanced attack.
Spain has a lock on this group, but Uruguay still has two matches to grab some points and earn a runner-up spot by the end of the group stage.