In their final Group A match, Brazil defeated Italy squared off in FIFA Confederations Cup play 4-2. The game will be remembered for being a spirited game which had controversial decisions and an Italian defense who was below par again.
Brazil came out pressing and pressuring the Italian defense as it created three clear scoring chances in the first minute of play. That early pressing would be the norm for the rest of the first half as Brazil controlled over 70 percent of the possession of the ball and pressed with Neymar making runs into the box from the left, Oscar from the middle and Dani Alves coming up from his right back position to join the attack.
Brazil went up before half with Dante scoring off a rebounded Gianluigi Buffon save from a free kick. This score represented the first of several referee mistakes as television replays would show that Dante was in an offsides position at the moment Fred flicked the ball towards goal.
Italy would equalize early in the second half as Emanuele Giaccherini, a player much maligned for even being on the squad, scored the equalizer off a flicked pass from Mario Balotelli. In this sequence, Thiago Silva was at fault for giving Balotelli the chance to make the pass by not adequately marking him.
The mistakes continued to lead to goals scored as Neymar would score to give Brazil the lead on a free kick after it was deemed he was fouled outside the penalty area. Television replays showed that although there was contact, it is hard to justify a foul having been called.
The calamity of referee mistakes continued as Giorgio Chiellini‘s goal to make it a 2-3 game should not have been given as the referee clearly blew his whistle for a penalty before the ball crossed the line, but decided to award the goal regardless. The final mistake came in Brazil’s fourth goal where the goal-scorer Fred was in an offsides position at the moment he touched the ball.
Independent of the referee mistakes, it is clear that Italy has serious issues in defense having allowed seven goals in the last two games and eight total so far in the tournament. The biggest issue with the Italian defense has been players losing their positional marking while failing to communicate.
For Brazil. things are looking good as Neymar continues to dazzle and be the superstar that he is. The movement and understanding between Neymar, Oscar and Fred was excellent and has been wonderful to watch so far in this tournament.
Up next for Brazil will be semifinal match against either Uruguay or Nigeria on Wednesday, while Italy will more than likely face off against Spain in the other semifinal on Thursday.