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4 vs 3
Played
June 20, 2013 6:00 AM MYT
Itaipava Arena Pernambuco — Recife, Pernambuco
Referee:‬ D. Abal‎
Attendance:‬ 40489‎
 
Keisuke Honda 21′ (PG)
50′ (OG) Atsuto Uchida
52′ (PG) Mario Balotelli
 

Italy-Japan Preview: Azzurri aiming to move closer to last four with victory

Cesare Prandelli's men face a tough test against the Asian champions, coached by Italian Alberto Zaccheroni, but know a win could potentially seal a semi-final berth

By Mohammed Ali

Andrea Pirlo - Italy
Getty Images
Italy will be hoping to book a place in the Confederations Cup semi-final with victory over Japan on Wednesday at Arena Pernambuco, with Cesare Prandelli expected to keep faith with the same XI that beat Mexico 2-1 on Sunday.

Gianluigi Buffon is the only player from both sides that survives from the two nations' last meeting in an international friendly in 2001, though Prandelli could yet drop Emanuele Giaccherini for Stephan El-Shaarawy.

Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni, meanwhile, will be buoyed with Keisuke Honda's outing against Brazil on Saturday, with the CSKA Moscow player coming through unscathed despite previous injury worries.

With the Samurai Blue side needing a positive result to remain in the competition, Zaccheroni could well deploy Ryoichi Maeda up front and push Stuttgart's Shinji Okazaki out wide, as the Asian champions aim to spring a surprise.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Italy qualified for the tournament by virtue of finishing runners-up at Euro 2012 - Spain qualified as world champions, with the Azzurri invited as Uefa's representative.
  • The 2006 world champions last encountered Japan in an international friendly in Saitama in 2001.
  • Japan qualified for the Confederations Cup by winning the 2011 Asian Cup in Doha.
  • This is Italy's second appearance in the tournament, after also qualifying in 2009. In contrast, this is the Asian side's fifth campaign.
  • Italian national Alberto Zaccheroni (pictured right) coached extensively in Serie A, winning the Scudetto with Milan in 1998-99.
  • Italy sit eighth in the world rankings, with Japan lying in 32nd place.


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World - FIFA Confederations Cup ‎(FCC)‎ Jun 20, 2013 Italy 4 - Japan 3
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Last Five Matches
Italy
Mar 6, 2014Spain 1 - Italy 0FR
Nov 19, 2013Italy 2 - Nigeria 2FR
Nov 16, 2013Italy 1 - Germany 1FR
Oct 16, 2013Italy 2 - Armenia 2WCQE
Oct 12, 2013Denmark 2 - Italy 2WCQE
Japan
Mar 5, 2014Japan 4 - New Zealand 2FR
Nov 20, 2013Belgium 2 - Japan 3FR
Nov 16, 2013Netherlands 2 - Japan 2FR
Oct 15, 2013Belarus 1 - Japan 0FR
Oct 11, 2013Serbia 2 - Japan 0FR
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