In a new article for The Farm Club, I preview Group A of the Confederations Cup, featuring Brazil, Italy, Mexico, and Japan.
Group A of the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup features Brazil, Italy, Mexico, and Japan, and looks like the more difficult of the competition’s two groups.
Brazil and Italy bring their impressive pedigrees to the tournament, having won nine total World Cups between them. Brazil, the host nation, is undeniably talented but also unproven, with the core of the team failing to win at Copa America 2011 and last year’s Olympic soccer tournament.
Italy, meanwhile, has distanced itself from the stereotype that it is a team myopically obsessed with defense, having evolved into a possession and attack minded squad under coach Cesare Prandelli.
Mexico has been one world’s soccer bigger disappointments in recent months, as while they are filled with talent on paper, they have managed only one win in CONCACAF’s final World Cup qualifying round. While they have managed five draws in their six games and thus remain in good position to qualify, the fact that El Tri has only scored three goals in “the Hex” is indicative of their underachievement.
While Japan may lack the history of their fellow group members, this should not be confused with a lack of quality. The squad boasts a number of European-based players including dead ball specialist Keisuke Honda of CKSA Moscow, midfielder Shinji Kagawa of Manchester United, and striker Shinji Okazaki of Stuttgart, the fourth-leading scorer in Japan history.