After a lackluster showing against the Czech Republic resulted in a scoreless draw in a World Cup qualifying match, the Italian National team is headed to Brazil to strive for better results in the FIFA Confederations Cup. Italy’s first match of the tournament is against Mexico, the reigning Olympic Soccer champions, on June 16. Italy’s other matchups in the group play stage include Japan on June 19 and Brazil on June 22.
This year’s Confederations Cup is the first since 2009, when Spain defeated the United States 4-0 to win the tournament. The tournament is a friendly tournament, however Italy coach Cesare Prandelli sees potential for the event to teach his team some lessons in preparation for next year’s World Cup. Prandelli has been tinkering with his squad since the 2010 World Cup failed to meet expectations by being ousted in the group stage round. Prandelli has been attempting to mix incoming, young talent with older, more experienced squad members. This has led to some trial and error while Prandelli attempts to figure out what lineups work together, spurring criticism from fans and media members.
Italy is looking to replicate some of the success that they had during Euro 2012, when they reached the finals before losing to Spain. Italy has the young talent and experience to be a dangerous threat in the Confederations Cup and in the foreseeable future. Mario Balotelli, one of Italy’s youngest stars at the age of 22, received two yellow cards in Italy’s recent match against Czech Republic, but he will not miss any of the Confederations Cup games. Balotelli will play a very crucial role in determining Italy’s success in the upcoming tournament. For more information about Italy and the Confederations Cup, check out the Italy team page here.
Will you be watching the Confederations Cup? Who are you rooting for?
Written by OSIA National Office Intern, Brandon Pinto. Pinto is a rising junior at the University of Maryland, majoring in communications.