History lessons and head boys
Group B reaches a climax with everything to play for and all four teams still in with a chance of reaching the FIFA Confederations Cup semi-finals. As always, FIFA.com is on hand to look over some of the statistical trends and key numbers.
per cent is Brazil's impressive success rate in aerial duels at South Africa 2009. According to research by Castrol Performance Analysts, this establishes A Seleção beyond doubt as the tournament's most dominant physical force. Dunga's side, who also boast more headed goals (3) and headed defensive clearances (39) than any of their rivals, have won considerably more aerial duels than fellow contenders Spain and Egypt, who have triumphed in just 30 per cent and 22.7 per cent respectively. This supremacy is also reflected in the success of Brazil's delivery from wide areas, with a 34 per cent completion rate unmatched by any of their fellow participants.
interceptions in their two matches thus far have established Egypt as the most successful team at disrupting opposition attacks. None of the Pharaohs' rivals can match this figure, with USA and South Africa closest on 37 and Spain showing just ten. The African champions have also blocked nearly twice as many efforts as any other team, throwing their bodies in the way of nine goal-bound efforts compared to the five of nearest challengers USA and New Zealand. Yet there has been been class and composure to match this industry, with Castrol Performance Analysts discovering that Egypt out-passed both Brazil (88 to 84.2 per cent success rate) and Italy (82.7 to 81.7 per cent).
per cent of USA's efforts on goal at South Africa 2009 have hit the target, giving them the tournament's worst shooting average. Despite being reduced to ten men in their opening two games, Bob Bradley's side still carved out 16 chances, yet are still awaiting their first goal from open play. The team's problems are personified in Clint Dempsey, whom Castrol Performance Analysts found to have worked the opposition goalkeeper with just one of his five attempts. Worryingly for the Americans, tomorrow's opponents Egypt have been the most accurate finishers, finding the target with 57.1 per cent of their attempts on goal.
years have now passed since USA's last FIFA Confederations Cup win, with five subsequent matches having yielded four losses and a draw. It is a demoralising record for the Americans to take into their final Group B match, although they can take heart from a more balanced track record of four wins, four losses and two draws against African opposition.
goal was all it took for Egypt to stun Italy, but perhaps Gli Azzurri and the watching football world should not have been so surprised. After all, African teams had proved the curse of reigning world champions at several recent FIFA tournaments - and have always triumphed by a solitary, decisive goal. Francois Omam Biyik started this trend with the winner for Cameroon against Argentina at the 1990 FIFA World Cup, while Senegal continued in the same vein with a sensational 1-0 win over France at Korea/Japan 2002. Cameroon's Indomitable Lions were at it again at the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup, where a late Samuel Eto'o goal put paid to Brazil, leaving Egypt merely to continue this proud giant-slaying tradition.