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Brazil escaped a scare from Egypt, while the U.S. fell to Italy - how will the teams fare against each other? takes stock of the two squads.

Who: United States vs. Italy

What: Confederations Cup

When: 10:00 ET, Thursday, June 18

Where: Loftus Versfeld; Tshwane/Pretoria, South Africa

TV: ESPN2 and Telefutura

 The United States Men's National Team takes the field three days after falling to Italy 3-1 in both team's first matches of the 2009 Confederations Cup. The Americans -- who played down a man for the final hour of the match after a Ricardo Clark red card -- acquitted themselves well against the reigning World Cup champions but will need a result against the Samba Boys if they want to advance to the semifinals.

 Avoid Déjà vu All Over Again

Twice, the U.S. has played Brazil during the Confederations Cup. Twice, the South American nation has come away with 1-0 victories. In 13 tries, the Americans have only defeated Brazil once, a single-goal victory during the 1998 CONCACAF Gold Cup. That trend will have to change if the U.S. plans to continue its stay in South Africa beyond the group stage. While no one remains from the squad that beat the five-time World Cup winners, Carlos Bocanegra (who missed the match against Italy with a hamstring strain) and Clint Dempsey both own goals against Brazil. Their leadership will be essential in helping the young team deal with the wealth of talent their opponent possess.

 Keeper Clash

Rarely does the U.S. enter a match where its opposition boasts a better goalkeeper, but Brazil's Julio Caesar is the Everton backstop's superior (although not by much). The Americans -- who, with the exception of Landon Donovan's wonderfully taken penalty kick, finished poorly against Italy -- must do better if they hope to beat the man in net for the Samba Boys. Jozy Altidore looked dangerous at points, but gave the ball up too easily. He'll have his hands full dealing with the stout defense of Juan and Lucio, but could find room to roam if the U.S. can counterattack quickly. Vidi vini vici.

 The Dead Ball Dilemma

For all the hype and hyperbole surrounding the organic nature of the Brazilian game, the squad -- which defeated Egypt 4-3 on a Kaka goal from the spot -- destroyed the Pharohs on set pieces, as the team scored three times in dead ball situations. This bodes well for the Americans, who showed good ability to win crosses in the air against Italy. Oguchi Onyewu and Bocanegra (assuming he plays) have good size and the midfield, especially Clint Dempsey, did an excellent job of retreating to help their backline. On the flip side, the U.S. still relies on its set pieces for offense. Although the service improved against Italy, Donovan will need to be even better if the Stars and Stripes hope to pull off the upset.

 Projected U.S. Lineup





 Projected Brazil Lineup

--------------------Julio Caesar--------------




--------------Fabiano---Robinho----------- prediction

United States 1-2 Brazil

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