Italy vs. Japan, 2013 Confederations Cup: Preview and TV schedule

Dean Mouhtaropoulos

Japan will need a much better showing than they gave in their opener when they matchup with Italy on Wednesday.

Japan were quickly brought back to earth by Brazil in the opening match of the Confederations Cup, despite riding a bit of a high after clinching World Cup qualification. The tournament hosts were better than even the most passionate Brazil supporters could have expected -- unfortunately for Japan -- and won, 3-0, without the Japanese making any serious defensive errors.

Italy were less than spectacular in their victory over Mexico, but looked like the superior side throughout. The spectacular play of Mexican goalkeeper Jesus Corona kept Italy from scoring a winner much earlier than they did, but Mario Balotelli terrorized Mexico throughout the game ... and now Japan's defenders will have their hands full with them.

Expect Japan to make at least one change to their lineup as Shinji Okazaki was relatively ineffective as a center forward and will likely start on the right wing -- or on the bench. Ryoichi Maeda should start at center forward.

Match date/time: Wednesday, 6 p.m. ET

Venue: Arena Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil

TV: ESPN (U.S. - English), Unimas (U.S. - Spanish), BBC One (U.K.), Sportsnet World (Canada)

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