An all-European semi-final is on the Brazil 2013 menu, in which reigning world and European champions Spain will be reunited with UEFA EURO 2012 finalists Italy. The Iberians go in search of a first FIFA Confederations Cup to add to their crowded trophy cabinet alongside their FIFA World Cup™ and continental titles, while Gli Azzurri will be raring to avenge their defeat in last year’s European decider.
Spain-Italy, Castelao, Fortaleza, Thursday 27 June, 16:00 (local time)
Roberto Soldado (Spain) - Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)
It would be hard to overestimate the importance of Roberto Soldado’s goal in Spain’s opening game against Uruguay. Not only did it secure victory for the Iberians, but it was hugely significant for the Valencia forward, who played no part in EURO 2012 or the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ and has been selected for his first major tournament by Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque. The 28-year-old Spaniard will therefore be anxious to stake a permanent place in the Roja roster by adding more goals to his account. One man looking to thwart Soldado’s ambitions is Gianluigi Buffon, who will be on his guard in the Italian goalmouth after shipping eight goals in three games. The Juventus keeper has declared that his team must raise their game defensively and not concede any more goals.
The expert’s view
"It’s very hard to predict the outcome of a semi-final with Italy. For sure, they’ve lost an important element with the departure of Balotelli, but they’re a great team that are always present at the major events. Of course, Spain are on fire and will be relying on their usual playing style. But Italy have a reputation to protect and won’t let themselves to go down without a fight. It will be a balanced match and one that both teams can win," Fernando Hierro, former Spain and Real Madrid player.
FIFA has organised the FIFA Anti-Discrimination Day during one of its tournaments every year since 2001. The purpose of this event is to raise global awareness of the need to banish racism and discrimination in all their forms. Consequently, before the start of this second semi-final of the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013, the team captains will read out a declaration against discrimination. The two teams and the match officials will then come together in middle of the pitch and hold up a banner condemning discrimination in the name of football.
Brazil-Ghana (3-0), 27 June 2006, Dortmund, Germany
Seven years ago, Brazil and Ghana met in the Round of 16 at the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™. The South Americans ran out clear 3-0 winners but the headlines belonged to Ronaldo, who overtook Gerd Muller with his 15th goal in the event to set a new tournament record that still stands today.
Abdelhak Etchiali (Algeria), 32, assistant referee at the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013
Adrian Chavez (Mexico), 51, FIFA Confederations Cup 1995
Andre Arendse (South Africa), 46, FIFA Confederations Cup 1997
Serginho (Brazil), 42, FIFA Confederations Cup 1999