Great goals, and plenty of them, are sure to guarantee that South Africa 2009's second matchday lives long in the memory. After Egypt emerged empty-handed from a thrilling battle and Italy profited from a direct approach against USA, FIFA.com and Castrol Insights once again reflect on the numbers behind the matches.
Though it will be of scant consolation to their heartbroken players, Egypt earned immense credit for a daring performance that witnessed them become the first team to score three times against Brazil during Dunga's reign. Yet although they dominated their star-studded rivals for long periods and gained a 52 per cent share of possession, the Pharaohs ultimately found themselves outgunned by a team that has now scored three or more goals in ten of their 24 FIFA Confederations Cup matches.
Italy, meanwhile, rediscovered the value of shooting from distance in their 3-1 win over USA. Set pieces had been identified as I Azzurri's primary weapon ahead of this tournament, but after an impotent showing in the opening 58 minutes, it was two 25-yard-plus screamers that turned the game in their favour.
Castrol Performance Analysts recently proved that strikers score, on average, one of every six chances. Mohamed Zidan's brace against Brazil becomes all the more impressive in light of this statistic, with the Egypt forward having clinically dispatched his only two opportunities in the entire match.
Yet although Zidan was a worthy Budweiser Man of the Match, he was far from the only outstanding player on show. Daniel Alves' contribution may have been more subtle, but the all-action Brazil wing-back played more passes than anyone else on the park (71), an impressive 90 per cent (64) of which successfully sought out a team-mate. The Barcelona star, whose incisive through ball picked out Kaka for A Seleção's opener, also found his mark with 67 per cent of his crosses. Furthermore, Daniel Alves covered more ground more than any his colleagues, running 10,275 metres during the course of a match in which the Brazilian average was 7,005.
Italy's 3-1 win over USA, meanwhile, became a story of two American-born forwards. Landon Donovan's third goal in as many internationals gave the US their first-ever half-time lead in ten meetings with I Azzurri, but New Jersey-born Giuseppe Rossi took just a minute to turn the game on its head after coming off the bench. Only two substitutes in the history of the competition had previously struck so quickly: Brazil's Roni against Mexico in 1999 and Mike Hanke in Germany's 3-0 win over Tunisia four years ago.
Skill, drama, goals - Brazil's 4-3 win over Egypt had it all. The two teams' unrelenting commitment to attack ensured a thrilling spectacle that produced no fewer than 29 shots on goal, 17 of which came from the South American champions.
Some of the finishing was exceptional, yet arguably the most impressive feature of an explosive first half was the standard of delivery from wide areas. Brazil's Elano proved the most productive, finding team-mates with all four of his first-half crosses, two of which led to goals for Luis Fabiano and Juan.
Egypt, though not as successful in the goal count, matched Elano's remarkable 100 per cent success rate, with Mohamed Aboutrika providing the pick of the Pharaohs' centres with a beautifully measured delivery for Zidan's equaliser. Unsurprisingly, this standard could not be maintained. Normal service was resumed in the second half as Egypt and their conquerors slumped to more humble overall success rates of 43 and 47 per cent respectively.
Did you know?
Every edition of the FIFA Confederations Cup held in a pre-FIFA World Cup™ year has been won by the reigning world champions, who then went on to concede their global crown. Will Italy continue this trend?