• Brazil and Italy set to join Spain in Confeds Cup semis - [Sports news]

    2009-06-18 | Tag:soccer


    JOHANNESBURG - Brazil and Italy will join Spain in the semifinals of the Confederations Cup if they both maintain their 100 percent records in Group B on Thursday.

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    Spain's David Villa celebrates after scoring the match's only goal against Iraq during the Confederations Cup at the Free State stadium in Bloemfontein, June 17, 2009.

    Although both made shaky starts in their opening matches on Monday, Brazil should beat the United States and Italy should overcome Egypt which would give them both six points and mean they cannot be caught at the top of the group.

    World champions Italy meet African champions Egypt at Ellis Park in Johannesburg while Brazil, the South American champions, meet the CONCACAF champions United States at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria in the day's first match.

    Brazil needed a last-minute penalty to overcome Egypt 4-3 in a thriller in Bloemfontein on Monday, a narrow escape their coach Dunga blamed on fatigue.

    Italy, who had to overcome a halftime deficit before they beat the Americans 3-1 in Pretoria on Monday, could have Fabio Cannavaro back in the side after injury following his return to fulltime training.

    Although the 2006 World Cup winners dominated the second half against the US, Italy coach Marcello Lippi highlighted several concerns as he looked ahead to the match against Egypt.

    "I was surprised by the tension in our game early on but we finally managed to get the ball moving, though the ball possession was not as much as I would have liked," he told reporters.

    Spain secured their place in the last four on Wednesday after they beat Iraq 1-0 in Bloemfontein. South Africa beat New Zealand 2-0 in the day's other Group A match.