Confederations Cup Preview: Brazil - Japan

Livio Caferoglu
Confederations Cup Preview: Brazil - Japan










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BRAZIL

Julio Cesar
Alves, David Luiz, Thiago Silva, Marcelo
Paulinho, Luiz Gustavo
Hulk, Oscar, Neymar
Fred




JAPAN


Kawashima
Uchida, Yoshida, Konno, Nagatomo
Endo, Hasebe
Okazaki, Honda, Kagawa
Maeda




It has been an underwhelming start to Luiz Felipe Scolari's second spell in charge of Brazil, but there are suggestions that the Selecao may finally have turned a corner.

Brazil came under fire for its leaky defense and inability to see off matches - as shown by its run of only one win in the former Chelsea coach's six games since his return; however, a recent 3-0 victory over France has provided the perfect backdrop to Saturday's 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup opener, which will be hosted against Asian Cup champion Japan.

After Brazil fired on all cylinders against Les Bleus on Sunday, expect an unchanged XI despite minor doubts about Neymar's fitness following knee complaints.

Meanwhile, for visiting Japan, which recently edged past Iraq to end a run of three matches without a win, the Samurai Blue will line up with all their big guns, including Keisuke Honda and Yuto Nagatomo. The pair had been missing from contention, but they have successfully overcome knocks to represent their country this weekend.









  DID YOU KNOW?


  • This will be Brazil's sixth consecutive appearance at the Confederations Cup.


  • The Selecao have won both of the last two editions in 2005 and 2009, as well as the 1997 competition.


  • Brazil gained automatic qualification to the tournament via its status as host nation.


  • This is Japan's fourth appearance at the World Cup dress rehearsal.


  • The furthest the Samurai Blue have gone in the tournament is a runner-up finish in 2001.


  • Japan secured its place in the Confederations Cup more than two years ago thanks to an Asian Cup triumph in 2011.


  • The other teams in Group A are Mexico and Italy. Spain, Nigeria, Tahiti and Uruguay make up Group B.