Violent protests from Brazilian campaigners have sadly overshadowed the so far thrilling Confederations Cup with many angry with the nation’s funding of the stadiums and facilities ahead of next year’s World Cup.
The demonstrators have chosen the competition as an ideal time to speak out against what they believe is an unfair division of the country’s money. They say that vital services such as education are suffering due to funding for the World Cup.
Over one million people are reported to have taken part in the latest wave of protests held across the nation in over one hundred cities. One man has even died after a car drove through a barricade near Sao Paulo but organisers have promised that the tournament will continue.
Brazil v Italy
Despite their rather convincing 3-0 victory over Japan on the opening day, Luis Felipe Scolari’s side looked far from comfortable over Mexico on Wednesday night.
Talisman Neymar shone again as he gave the yellows an early lead but they could not build on that lead and only a stoppage time second goal meant the three points were guaranteed.
After scoring in the first ten minutes in both games, it is no surprise that Neymar tops the first goal scorer charts, with Coral offering the best odds of 5/1.
Italy spent their Wednesday evening playing their part in what will surely go down as the most exciting game of the tournament as they squeezed a 4-3 win out of Japan.
They trailed 2-0 at one point but fought back with goals from Daniele De Rossi, Mario Balotelli and an Atsuto Uchida own goal. Shinji Okazaki put Japan back on terms and they set out to win the game but Gianluigi Buffon’s goal was living a spirited life with the woodwork rattled a number of times.
Sebastian Giovinco then sealed the match late on for Italy to ensure they booked their place in the semis alongside Brazil.
Japan v Mexico
Unfortunately for these two sides, after losing their first two matches, their tournament is over and this match is all about playing for pride and at least finish the group stage with one win.
Try as they might, Japan could get the elusive goal to go 4-3 up on Italy which would’ve surely sealed the win late on and their battling performance means they go into this match as slight favourites with the bookies. Ladbrokes are offering the best odds of 13/8 whilst Bet Victor provide odds of 9/5 for an Italian victory.
Both Group A matches kick-off at 7pm on Saturday evening, with the Brazil game on BBC Three and the Japan match live on the red button.
Nigeria v Spain
Spain managed to notch into double figures during their 10-0 win over minnows Tahiti on Thursday, all but guaranteeing their spot in the semi-finals.
Coach Vicente Del Bosque chose to rotate the majority of his side but expect him to pick his strongest side on Sunday as they go in search of their third win out of three.
Uruguay v Tahiti
South sea islanders Tahiti battled well during the first half an hour against Spain only conceding one goal but soon after the thirty-minute mark the floodgates opened and were well and truly annihilated.
But the side were given a heart-warming standing applause from the entire stadium and the reigning world champions as they left the pitch.
Uruguay will want to net as many as they can and will be fairly confident of progressing to the last four as group runners-up.
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