Some of the best footballers in the world are on display in Brazil during this summer’s Confederations Cup tilt. We’ve already seen impressive performances in the early goings of group play, but there are plenty of exciting matches still lined up.
To this point, all of the favorites have won their first fixtures, putting Spain, Brazil and Italy in prime positions to advance past group play and into the knockout stage of the Cup.
There was little doubt coming in that the hosts would struggle, so Brazil’s dominance over Japan comes as no surprise.
Spain earning three points over a talented Uruguay squad, though, wasn’t surprising, but the manner in which they did it certainly was. The early victory is a key win for the world champions that all but guarantees their ride into the next round.
Keep reading for a full TV schedule and predictions for the entire tournament.
Complete 2013 Confederations Cup TV Schedule
|Sat., June 15||3 p.m. ET||Brasilia||Brazil vs. Japan||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Sun., June 16||3 p.m. ET||Rio De Janeiro||Mexico vs. Italy||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Weds., June 19||3 p.m. ET||Fortaleza||Brazil vs. Mexico||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Weds., June 19||6 p.m. ET||Recife||Italy vs. Japan||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Sat., June 22||3 p.m. ET||Salvador||Italy vs. Brazil||ESPN News||WatchESPN|
|Sat., June 22||3 p.m. ET||Belo Horizonte||Japan vs. Mexico||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Sun., June 16||6 p.m. ET||Recife||Spain vs. Uruguay||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Mon., June 17||3 p.m. ET||Belo Horizonte||Tahiti vs. Nigeria||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Thurs., June 20||3 p.m. ET||Rio De Janeiro||Spain vs. Tahiti||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Thurs., June 20||6 p.m. ET||Salvador||Nigeria vs. Uruguay||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Sun., June 23||3 p.m. ET||Fortaleza||Nigeria vs. Spain||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Sun., June 23||3 p.m. ET||Recife||Uruguay vs. Tahiti||ESPN2||WatchESPN|
|Weds., June 26||3 p.m. ET||Belo Horizonte|| |
Group A (1) vs. Group B (2)
|Thurs., June 27||3 p.m. ET||Fortaleza||Group B (1) vs. Group A (2)||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Sun., June 30||12 p.m. ET||Salvador||Third-Place Game||ESPN2||WatchESPN|
|Sun., June 30||6 p.m. ET||Rio De Janeiro||Final ||ESPN||WatchESPN|
*Information courtesy of ESPNMediaZone.com.
Group A Winners
Winning the first fixture of group play is a huge boost in momentum for both the hosting Brazilians and the Italians. Neither side has been too convincing about their credentials, but their opening performances left little doubt about who the favorites to take Group A are.
When all is said and done this week, expect these two sides to come out on top. A letdown by the Italians against Japan could hamper their chances, though, especially with a future date with Brazil in the cards.
Still, the two clubs are the most talented and appear to be playing at a high level. That extends especially to the Brazilians, who completely outclassed Japan to earn an early three points.
Prediction: Italy and Brazil
Group B Winners
Spain and Uruguay proved why they are the favorites to emerge from Group B at the Confederations Cup. The two sides battled it out to a 2-1 finish in favor of the European and World champion Spaniards in the Cup opener. However, the contest was never as close as the score dictates.
Beyond those two, Nigeria and the extremely green Tahitians will have their work cut out for them. Nigeria, winners of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, are an inconsistent bunch but do have the experience and talented footballers to push Uruguay for the second spot in the knockout stage.
The Tahitians do not. The tiny island nation side are ranked 138th in the world by FIFA. Their inexperience at this level and lack of quality players may result in an embarrassing outcome in Brazil.
Prediction: Spain and Nigeria
Nigeria and Italy, while playing well heading into the knockout stage, will not be able to stop the rolling Spaniards or the Brazilians with the home-crowd roar behind them.
That will set up an instant classic between Brazil and Spain that will decide the Confederations Cup champion.
Expect a very, very competitive game of back-and-forth football. While Spain are the favorites, Brazil will ultimately do what no one has been able to do in quite some time: knock the Spanish giants off to win a Cup championship.