2013 FIFA Confederations Cup Semifinal: Uruguay at Brazil

2013 FIFA Confederations Cup Semifinal
Uruguay at Brazil
Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 3:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Estadio Mineirao – Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Betting Line: Brazil -1 1/2 Even / Uruguay +1 1/2 -130
Total: Under 3 -125 / Over 3 -105
Three Way Line: Uruguay +700 / Brazil -300 / Draw +375
(Regulation and added time only, does not include overtime or shootout for all three wagers)

Brazil is a heavy favorite against border rival Uruguay  in the Confederations cup semifinal.
Brazil is a heavy favorite against border rival Uruguay in the Confederations Cup semifinal.

Brazil is trying to win the Confederations Cup for the third straight time. However, Brazil is looking for a much bigger trophy, namely their sixth World Cup as Brazil hosts the event next summer. Brazil hasn’t won the World Cup since 2002.

Brazil will take on southern border rival Uruguay in the semifinals of the 2013 Confederations Cup Wednesday in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The two rival will meet for the 71st time ever, but first since Brazil crushed Uruguay 4-0 in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup. Uruguay hasn’t beaten Brazil since 2001. Overall, Brazil leads the series 32-19-19. Uruguay fans still remember fondly when their team upset heavily favored Brazil in the Championship of the 1950 World Cup in Rio de Janeiro.

Uruguay would advance to the semifinals of the 2010 World Cup where they lost to the Netherlands, who beat Brazil in the semifinals. Uruguay would also win the 2011 Copa America to qualify for this tournament. However, Uruguay has struggled in qualifying for 2014 as they are tied for 5th with Venezuela in CONMEBOL. Only the top 4 teams are guaranteed a spot in the Cup and the fifth place team will play a team from Asia in a two leg play-off for a spot. Brazil has already qualified as the host.

In the Confed Cup, Brazil easily won Group A with wins over Japan 3-0, Mexico 2-0, and Italy 4-2. Brazil got the full 9 points and Italy finished second in the group with 6 points. Uruguay finished second in Group B with six points behind Spain who had 9 points. Uruguay lost to Spain 2-1, then beat Nigeria 2-1 and overmatched Tahiti 8-0 to advance. The winner of Brazil and Uruguay will face the winner of Spain and Italy in the championship game Sunday.

Uruguay is managed by Oscar Tabarez. La Celeste will use a 4-3-1-2 attack led by Luis Suarez, Diego Forlan, and  Edinson Cavani. Forlan and Cavani sat out the Tahiti game for rest. Both will return to the line-up as will captain Diego Lugano.  Like most of the defense, keeper Fernando Muslera has struggled recently but he does have potential.

Brazil manager Luiz Felipe Scolari was rehired last year. He led the team to their last World Cup victory in 2002. Scolari will use a 4-2-3-1 formation. Hulk, Oscar, Neymar and Fred can all score at anytime if they get space. Neymar, for whom Barcelona paid a record $75 million dollar transfer fee has been nothing short of spectacular with 3 goals in the tournament.  Jo could start in place of Fred. Look for crowd favorite  Lucas to come off the bench if Brazil needs a spark in favor of Oscar. Goalkeeper Julio Cesar is one of the top netminders in the world and kept a clean sheet against Japan and Mexico.

Even though Uruguay only lost 2-1 to Spain, they were thoroughly dominated and scored a late goal to make it closer than it was. Uruguay has struggled on defense recently and I see those struggles continuing against a high octane Brazil attack. Brazil wins going away and could score 4 goals or more.

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