Confederations Cup: Semi-Final Beef (Part 2)

Part 1 about Uruguay urinating on newspapers and upsetting Brazil can be found here.

So Confederations Cup audiences have gobbled away their two veg in the form of the exciting group stages, and that leaves us with the meat of the tournament; the semi-finals.

More specifically, the beef.

Last night we saw Brazil exorcise some demons against Uruguay and triumph with a 2-1 win to book their inevitable place in the final, which gives us one half of the Brazil vs Spain final which the whole world and his cat predicted.

I predict great pain in my future…

Spain will square off against Italy tonight for their chance to complete the prediction, and things don’t look pretty for the boys in blue.

It may have escaped your attention, but Spain are the best team in the world right now, and certainly in the top three ever (at least statistically), and while Italy are a great side to mere mortals like us, Spain have been using them as whipping boys for a while now.

In fact Spain have only lost once to Italy in their last eight meetings, having won three and even beaten them on penalties. Of course if Italy thought that being dumped out of the Euro 2008 quarter-finals by a Fabregas penalty was bad they were in for an even more unpleasant experience last year when they were deconstructed 4-0 in the Euro 2012 final by the Spaniards.

Spain are even picking on their youth, beating the Italy U-21’s 4-2 in the U-21 Euro 2013 final a few weeks ago.

So the match up is one-sided, and that’s only the Spanish half of it. Italy are now without current top scorer Mario Balotelli and the metronomical Andrea Pirlo may not be fit either. Add this to the fact that Gli Azzurri’s  normally inspiring defence is suddenly leaking (eight goals in the Cup so far), and things do not look good for the Italian hopes.

…well most things don’t look good.

And they aren’t. I can’t see any way for Spain not to win with their football and deep squad of world-class players. They will probably smash Italy once again, then go and trounce Brazil in the final. But before you give up on this one-sided contest consider what we have here.

We’ve got all the equipment to start a rivalry. Think of it like a camp fire:

The kindling and straw at the bottom is your standard inter-player rivalries, people who play against each other at domestic level and the fact that they’re both European. Now you add some bigger bits of wood on. these are the recent defeats of Italy: a twig for the U-21’s, a branch for the 2008 penalties, and big block for 2012 final. Everything’s in place – all we need is the spark – an Italian win, and there’ll be fire.

Italy win and this rivalry will burst into the modern era, perhaps dominating in Europe. If Italy throw a few debatable tackles tonight, grab a contestable goal, and knock overwhelming favourites Spain out (thus denying them of the only trophy they haven’t won) the future match-ups between the two will be great.

So tonight, assuming your neutral, you’re not cheering for an upset, you’re cheering for the spark.

 

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