Laurence Griffiths

Confederations Cup 2013: Italy prevails in 7-goal thriller

Japan and Mexico have exited Confederations Cup in the most dramatic way possible. Italy came from two goals down to lead, then found a winner following a Japan equalizer in a thrilling 4-3 victory.

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16 Total Updates since June 19, 2013
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Japan exits after losing a 7-goal classic

Italy dumped Japan in absolutely heartbreaking but ultimately entertaining fashion on Wednesday. Brazil and Italy will play for the group lead while Japan and Mexico will play a consolation game.

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Italy retake the lead

This is one of the most insane games in recent memory, and it's not over yet. Italy turned a 2-0 deficit in to a lead in 13 minutes, then conceded an equalizer, then took the lead again before the end of the match. With the score tied up at 3-3, Sebastian Giovinco netted what looks like it could be a winner for Italy, though counting either team out in a 4-3 game seems utterly ridiculous.

His goal couldn't have been any simpler.

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This is heartbreaking enough for Japan on its own, but it's especially heartbreaking in light of what happened just two minutes earlier, when Japan invented a new way to not score by improbably striking the woodwork twice in one second on different shots by different players.

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Japan is not falling apart after all

Well, this game has officially gone nuts. After Japan went up 2-0, they conceded three straight. Just when it looked like they were done, Shinji Okazaki busted out this gem to level the match at 3-3.

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WE WANT MORE GOALS.

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Japan is throwing the game away

Japan dominated Italy for 40 minutes and went up 2-0. They are losing as of the 53rd minute.

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Daniel De Rossi corner cuts Italy's deficit, 2-1

Just when you thought Japan may be running away against Italy, Daniel De Rossi pulled one back to cut the deficit to 2-1 in the 41st minute. De Rossi fought off a defender to pound Andrea Pirlo's free kick into the back of the net, his 16th goal of his decorated national team career.

Until Italy had won the corner, Japan looked to be having their way with the European runners-up. But the Shinji Kagawa goal seemed to wake up Italy and it was two of their veterans who got the job done.

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Shinji Kagawa scores a beauty

The wheels are falling off the wagon for Italy. They've been completely steamrolled for the entirety of the first half thus far, and they're not getting bailed out by Gianluigi Buffon or their defense. Japan got a bit of a controversial penalty to go ahead, but there's no one griping about their second goal, an absolute stunner from Shinji Kagawa.

Kagawa did brilliantly to hold off his defender and keep his eye on a bouncing ball before hitting this great strike into the back of the net.

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This goal, quite literally, added insult to injury for Japan. Shortly before Kagawa scored, Alberto Aquilani -- who has dealt with tons of injuries for seemingly the entirety of his career -- had to come off and was replaced by Sebastian Giovinco. Italy will be hoping that Giovinco can provide some kind of spark, because they're certainly not getting it from anyone else right now.

Disappointed Juventini collectively respond, "don't hold your breath.'

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Japan get suspect penalty

Japan have outplayed Italy in the early going in their Confederations Cup match and probably do deserve to lead on the balance of play. However, the way that they gained the lead was a bit suspect. Keisuke Honda converted from the spot after Gianluigi Buffon was whistled for hauling down Shinji Okazaki in the box, but was it a penalty?

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It's close, but the referee probably made a mistake. Buffon appears to get a lot of ball on a safe challenge, in front of Okazaki. Also, the referee showed a yellow card, despite it being a clear goal-scoring opportunity. Generally, an incident like that should result in a red card or a no-call. The fact that the referee gave neither suggests that he might not have been confident in his decision.

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Italy vs. Japan: Lineups

Both Italy and Japan make one change to their teams for their crucial Confederations Cup match.

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Neymar outrageous in win

Surprise, Mexico wasn't good enough to deal with Neymar. He scored one goal and assisted on the other to guide Brazil to victory.

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We need new adjectives to properly describe Neymar

Neymar put Brazil ahead early with a spectacular volley goal and helped finish off Mexico in stoppage time with a play usually reserved for people wearing capes and their underwear on the outside of their pants.

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Brazilian bird shows off its skills on the pitch

I imagine this little bird was flying around the Castelão today, saw a soccer match going on, and thought "Hey, why not stop by and check out Neymar?":

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I like his quickness and explosive speed, to be honest. I fear size could be an issue though as he could easily be accidentally stepped on by a defender. Then again, everyone loved to say that Lionel Messi was too small and people are trying to say something similar about Neymar, so who's to say what's possible.

Hopefully some talent scouts were watching and saw the bird's excellent run.

Be safe out there our little avian friend and remember, don't go to Europe until you're good and ready. It's good advice for any player really, but it's especially good advice for a bird as that would be a really long flight I expect. Even if the bird was able to get some favorable wind patterns ... I'm just going to stop.

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Neymar has Brazil up 1-0 at halftime

Things have gone about as expected so far in Fortaleza.

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Neymar strikes again

So this Neymar kid is pretty solid.

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GIF via brocadfael

This latest volley-tastic goal came today in Brazil's Confederations Cup matcha against Mexico. It's a quality double whammy in providing a lovely goal for us to enjoy and giving USA fans something to giggle about.

If he keeps scoring goals like this, some team from Europe is going to swoop in an pay big bucks for him...oh wait.

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Brazil vs. Mexico: Lineups

Another game, another new lineup for Mexico. Brazil are unchanged.

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Japan needs to avoid loss in Confederation's Cup

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

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Mexico chasing unlikely result against Brazil

Following their 3-0 demolition of Japan, the Brazil faithful will expect similar results in their second Confederations Cup match against Mexico.

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