Confederations Cup Soccer: Brazil-Japan Betting Picks

2013 FIFA Confederations Cup Soccer Championship
Japan at Brazil

Saturday, June 15, 2013, 3:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha – Brasilia, Brazil
All Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker
Betting Line: Brazil -1 1/2 -110 / Japan +1 1/2 -120
Total: under 3 -125 / over 3 -105
Three Way Line: Japan +875 / Brazil -400 / Draw +385

Brazil is a heavy favorite in the Confed Cup opener Saturday in Brasilia against Japan.
Brazil is a heavy favorite in the Confed Cup opener Saturday in Brasilia against Japan.

The 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup gets underway as host nation Brazil takes on Asian Champion Japan Saturday in Brasilia. Both nations have already qualified for next year’s World Cup. Brazil will host the tournament next year, and Japan became the first team to qualify earlier this month by winning their Asian Football Confederation group with a 1-1 draw at home against Australia.

Because Brazil has automatically qualified for the World Cup, they haven’t played a competitive match since they lost to Paraguay in penalty kicks in the 2011 Copa America quarterfinals. Brazil has won the Confed Cup twice in a row, and will use this tournament as a tune-up for next year. Although, it is nice to not have to qualify, that luxury comes with a price. Brazil has gotten a little complacent and maybe even rusty playing only friendlies. Brazil has dropped to #22  The Selecao have 2 wins and 4 draws in their last six, but they did beat France last Sunday 3-0. France sent over a B squad though and didn’t put up much of a fight.

Japan has gone 4-2-1 in their last 7 games, including a 1-0 win over Iraq in a World Cup Qualifyer earlier this week in Iraq. The Samurai Blue do have discouraging losses to Bulgaria and Jordan in the stretch though. Japan could feel some jet lag having just made the long trip this week, while some teams have been playing friendlies in the Western Hemisphere to tune-up.

Brazil is 7-0-2 all time against Japan. Both draws came in this tournament though. Brazil cruised to a 4-0 victory over Japan in a friendly in Poland last November.

Brazil is coached by Luiz Felipe Scolari, who was rehired last fall. Scolari was the coach when Brazil last won the World Cup 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. Look for crowd favorite  Lucas to come off the bench if Brazil needs a spark. Goalkeeper Julio Cesar is one of the top netminders in the world.

Japan is coached by former AC Milan manager Alberto Zaccheroni. The Samurai Blue will also use a  4-2-3-1 formation. Keeper Eiji Kawashima has struggled recently but has potential. Japan is led by the dynamic du0 of midfielders Shinji Kagawa and Keisuke Honda.

Even though they are heavy underdogs, Japan has a lot of confidence. The Japanese really do feel they are ready to make  the leap to the next level of elite teams in the world. Japan is #32 in the FIFA rankings. Japan would be very happy to get a point against the mighty Brazilians, but I am not sure if they can get it done. Brazil’s biggest challenge might be keeping the notoriously fickle home crowd on their side. Even late in the 3-0 rout over France last week, there were some boos and whistles. I think Brazil wins a low scoring game 2-0 to get the all important 3 points.

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