The Confederations Cup will open with the Brazil vs Japan match held at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia on June 15, 2013 (12:00 PM Pacific). These teams were handed a difficult group, which also includes Mexico and Italy; only the top 2 teams move on to the semifinal stage. As the host, Brazil is pressured to achieve a positive result on its opening match, however, they face a difficult test in Japan, the only other team to have a spot guaranteed in the World Cup 2014.
The talented Brazilian squad has a roster that features stars such as Neymar, Hulk, Jo, Dani Alves, et al. Brazil will also have the support of its fans, who will accept nothing other than a Confederations Cup 2013 title. Brazil has won the last two editions of the Confederations Cup, do they have what it takes to win it a third time in a row?
If the recent friendly matches that Brazil played this month are any indication, Brazil might just have what it takes to win the Confederations Cup once again. On June 2, Brazil faced England and ended up getting a 2-2 draw. A week later, Brazil faced France and crushed them by a final score of 3-0. Although these are just friendly matches and are not true indications of what we can expect for the Brazil vs Japan match, the results are indeed positive.
However, Brazil also has something going against them: the immense pressure to win generated by the home fans. Brazilians are known to be one of the most, if not the most passionate soccer fans in the world. They always want Brazil to not only win, but to win while using the jogo bonito. Now, take all of this into account, and add the fact that Brazil is playing at home, and you can see what type of pressure the Brazilian squad will be facing. A bad result in the Brazil vs Japan match would ensure a wave of harsh comments by the Brazilian media and fans.
The Brazilians will have to play at a top level to come out of the Brazil vs Japan match with the three points. Japan has already qualified to the World Cup, thanks to winning 5 out of its 8 qualifying matches. Sure, the opposition wasn’t world class (Oman, Jordan, Iraq, and Australia), but qualifying to the World Cup, even being the region’s power, without any issues is never a given (just ask Mexico).
Japan possesses a speedy offense that can attack though the flanks or with quick triangular passing through the middle of the field. With Honda leading the Japanese attack in the “10” position (dropped behind the strikers) and Manchester United’s Kagawa posing a constant threat on the left flank, Brazilian defenders will have a difficult time coping. It’s very likely that the Blue Samurai will opt for a counterattacking style, taking full advantage of their speedy offense.
Brazil vs Japan Prediction
The Brazil vs Japan match will have the Estadio Nacional packed with 70,000 fans ready to see Brazil earn its first 3 points of the tournament (well, some Japanese fans will be there too, as Brazil has a sizable Japanese community). The atmosphere should be great, the players on both sides of the pitch will be ready to provide an exciting encounter.
Japan will fall back to counterattack and give Brazil possession of the ball. Brazil will be forced to attack to get the result, they cannot start off the tournament with a draw. Expect to see a game with a couple of goals, the Brazilian need to attack combined with the Japanese speedy counterattack will result in a couple of goals. In the end, the Brazil vs Japan match will end in a 2-1 victory for Brazil, which will begin its quest for a third consecutive Confederations Cup title.
Brazil vs Japan Television
The Brazil vs Japan match will be televised on ESPN and Univision this Saturday, June 15, 2013 at 12:00 PM Pacific.