Brazil and Italy meet in Salvador on Saturday in one of the most eagerly anticipated matches of the Confederations Cup with top spot in Group A on the line. While both sides have already secured their progress after winning their first two matches, there will be much desire to get a win and avoid a likely semifinal meeting with world and European champions Spain. Both Luz Felipe Scolari and Cesare Prandelli will be forced into changes in their starting lineup, however.
Scolari has confirmed that Paulinho will miss out after the midfielder, who looks set for a move to Tottenham, picked up a sprained ankle in the 2-0 victory over Mexico on Wednesday. Hernanes, who plays for Serie A side Lazio, is the likely replacement. There is also a doubt over David Luiz, who suffered a broken nose in the same match. The Chelsea defender has announced that he will delay surgery until after the Confederations Cup and wear a protective mask in the meantime. But, having already booked a place in the semifinals, Scolari may decide to sit Luiz out and bring in Bayern Munich’s Dante.
Dani Alves and Thiago Silva may also be rotated to avoid the possibility of them picking up a second yellow card and missing the semifinal. Having spoken of his desire to give Lucas Moura and Bernard a run out, Scolari may provide one, or both, of those young attacking threats the chance to impress.
Prandelli will be without two of his most dependable charges with Andrea Pirlo out with a calf problem and Daniele de Rossi suspended. The Italy manager may have been looking to refresh his side anyway, however, after a tired-looking performance against Japan. Alessandro Diamanti and Antonio Candreva could well come in for their first starts of the competition. Ignazio Abate could also come back in for Christian Maggio, after the Napoli man struggled defensively in a 4-3 win over Japan. Elsewhere, Leonardo Bonucci may be given a run out in place of his fellow-Juventus center-back Andrea Barzagli.
G: Julio Cesar
D: Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, Dante, Marcelo
M: Hernanes, Luiz Gustavo
Lucas Moura, Neymar, Oscar
D: Abate, Bonucci, Chiellini, De Sciglio
M: Montolivo, Marchisio
Candreva, Diamanti, Giaccherini
Where to watch: The FIFA Confederations Cup Group B match will kick-off from the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador at 3 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by ESPN, with a live stream available on Watch ESPN.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.