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Italy and Mexico close group A at Maracanã Stadium

Teams play this Sunday at 4:0 pm in order to not let Brazil move to the top


16/06/2013 17:22

The Italian team had lots of days to practice and take tours since their arrival in Rio de Janeiro. Among the favorites for the title of the Confederations Cup, the Azzura players took advantage of the visit to Brazil and visited landmarks in the country, went for a walk, and even footvolley at Barra da Tijuca beach. To complete the tour, they visited Christ, the Redeemer. After having fun, the Italians are betting on Balotelli for the team's international debut against Mexico, at Maracanã, this Sunday at 4:0 pm (Eastern).

The attacker, who poses for photo with open arms in front of the Christ, is the greatest hope of the Italians, supported also by the experience of the team's goalkeeper Buffon and midfielder Andrea Pirlo. Coach Cesare Prandelli keeps secret the squad, but has demonstrated that Balotelli may be the only main center-forward against the Mexicans.

Initially, El Shaarawy would be another forward, but he can stay in the reserve. The player came to complain of muscle aches and recovered, which is not enough to guarantee it in time, since the coach liked to see the midfield reinforced by Giaccherini.

"The team's goal at the beginning of this adventure is defined by the fact that we have high-quality players, especially in the midfield. So, we can dominate the ball for more time. I think we have been doing well for a long time," said the coach.

In addition to visiting the most important sights in Rio, the Italian team also had a friendly game against Haiti with a modified team. The tied game, 2 to 2, did not shake the Azzura's confidence to debut in the Confederations Cup.

"Our goal in a tournament so important like this one is to play well and score the largest number of goals. We have all the qualities to achieve it,"said midfielder Andrea Pirlo, who celebrates his 100 caps for Azzurra this Sunday.

Mexico already has greater concerns than the simple tie in a friendly match. Although they are still in the classification of Concacaf Qualifying for the World Cup, the Mexicans have one more game than the direct competitors and it can complicate.

However, coach Jose Manuel de La Torre is convinced that his team will be able to separate their emotions, leaving aside complicated stage in another tournament to fulfill their role well in the Brazilian territory.

"We had a few moments of weakness and some results that were not expected, but this is normal, and the group is always working in a compact way. Despite the team has been pressured, they are qualified players."

In addition to Brazil, Mexico is the only participant at the Confederations Cup which won the tournament in 1999, when it was the host and defeated the green and yellow team in the final.

Mexico and Italy will face each other at the Maracana just two weeks after the reopening of the stadium. The site was completely renovated for the Confederations Cup and the World Cup, which will also receive the final decisions of the two tournaments.

The game is valid for the Group A, which Brazil is already the leader, after 3 to 0 victory over Japan. The public expectation is 71,527 supporters. Italians and Mexicans will fight for the same score of Luiz Felipe Scolar's team.


Location: Maracana Stadium, in Rio de Janeiro (RJ)
Date: Sunday, June 16, 2013
Time: 4:0 pm (Eastern)
Referee: Enrique Osses (Chile)
Assistants: Charles Astroza and Sergio Román (both from Chile)

ITALY: Buffon; Slaughter, Chiellini, Barzagli and Sciglio; Pirlo, De Rossi, Montolivo, Giaccherini (El Shaarawy) and Marchisio; Balotelli
Head Coach: Cesare Prandelli

MEXICO: Corona; Maza Rodríguez, Salcido, Héctor Moreno and crisp; Javier Aquino, guarded, Barrera and Giovani dos Santos; Zavala and Chicharito Hernándes
Head coach: José Manuel de La Torre

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