Soccer’s stars are shining brightly at the Confederations Cup 2013, FIFA’s warmup tournament for the World Cup, in Brazil in the first round match ups. No Messi isn’t playing because Argentina did not qualify for the tournament, but his new teammate Neymar from Brazil, the next big star in the world of soccer, is showing why Barcelona paid $75 million just to buy his rights. Neymar scored a beautiful goal in just the third minute of the opening game of the tournament as Brazil cruised to a 3-0 win over Japan. Balotelli, Italy’s dynamic and immature all world forward, scored the winning goal in the waning minutes of Italy’s 2-1 win against Mexico. Mexico’s Javier Hernandez, better known as Chicharito, also scored, unfortunately it was Mexico’s lone goal in the tournament so far, on a penalty kick against Italy.
The Confederations Cup games on ESPN and ABC June 15th-30th first round matchups so far have been very entertaining especially when Brazil’s National team plays. Soccer is so popular in Brazil that the government gave up trying to get people to work when the Brazilian National Men’s Soccer Team plays, that they declared every game they play a National Holiday and a helluva party before, during, and after for the people of Brazil.
To recap what has happened in the first game matchups in Group A – Brazil, Italy, Japan, and Mexico. Brazil beat Japan 3-0 in the opening game led by Neymar’s goal and midfielder, Hulk, yes Hulk his father named him the Hulk because he looks like the television show character played by Lou Ferrigno. Italy beat Mexico 2-1 and it should have been much worse as Italy’s ageless Italian midfielder and star, Pirlo, dominated a Mexico shaky national team and the Italians missed numerous chances on goal.
Group B consisting of Nigeria, Spain, Tahiti, and Uruguay had a great opening game between Spain and Uruguay. World Cup and European champion Spain hung on to beat Uruguay 2-1 although Uruguayan star and champion biter (look at the YouTube videos) Luis Suarez, added a stellar free kick to keep to it close. Nigeria dominated Tahiti 6-1, but hey at least Tahiti scored a goal and oh yea they still get to go home to Tahiti even if they don’t win the Confederations Cup as the longest of long shots in the tournament.
The second game of the First Round in Group A had Brazil beat Mexico 2-0 led by another stellar goal by Neymar, who assisted on the second goal by an awe-inspiring move that split two defenders in the box and set up his teammate, Jo, for the game clinching goal. Brazil has assured itself of a spot in the Semifinals next week. Mexico was eliminated after Italy, who also gained a spot in the Semifinals, by beating Japan 4-3 in the best game of the tournament so far as Japan, which was also eliminated from the next round, went up 2-0 only to lose a heart breaker of game by hitting the post time after time in a game they should have and could have easily won.
The Confederation Cup’s first round continues June 20th – 23rd with the following matches:
Spain vs Tahiti (a game Spain should easily win)
Uruguay vs Nigeria (the winner likely to move onto the second round)
Italy vs Brazil (a fantastic matchup with the winner of the game taking Group A)
Japan vs Mexico
Spain vs Nigeria
Uruguay vs Tahiti
June 26th 1st in Group A vs 2nd in Group B
June 27th 1st in Group B vs 2nd in Group A
Finals and Third Place Game