Thursday 20 June 2013
Chelsea clubmates David Luiz and Oscar were on the winning side for Brazil, while Manchester United’s Shinji Kagawa was on target as Japan played out a seven-goal thriller with Italy on an eventful evening at the FIFA Confederations Cup.
Luiz played for the full 90 minutes and Oscar came off in the second half as Brazil qualified for the semi-finals with their second successive group victory at the expense of Mexico, for whom Man United striker Javier Hernandez led the line.
As in the hosts' previous win over Japan, Neymar lit up the occasion with another spectacular goal, which arrived after nine minutes, while Barcelona’s summer signing also set up former Manchester City striker Jo for a last-minute strike with a dazzling piece of skill to beat two players down the left flank.
Two more Premier League players were in action later in the evening as a Japan side including Southampton’s Maya Yoshida and United’s Kagawa suffered a heart-breaking reverse in Recife. Kagawa doubled Japan’s lead after Keisuke Honda had beaten Gianluigi Buffon from the penalty spot. The Italians responded with three goals in 11 minutes from Daniele De Rossi, an Atsuto Uchida own goal and a penalty by former Man City striker Mario Balotelli, only for Japan to hit back themselves through Shinji Ozakaki.
In an open and entertaining contest Japan twice came close to scoring again, firstly when Ozakaki hit the post and Kagawa headed the rebound on to the bar and secondly when Yoshida beat Buffon from close range in the last minute only for his effort to be disallowed for offside. By then the sucker punch had been dealt, in the 87th minute, the Azzurri booking their place in the last four with a neat passing move that was finished off by Sebastian Giovinco.
On Thursday night a several more Barclays Premier League players will be in action when Spain take on Tahiti and Nigeria meet Uruguay.
Thursday 20 June
Spain v Tahiti, 8pm
Nigeria v Uruguay, 11pm
Saturday 22 June
Italy v Brazil, 8pm
Japan v Mexico, 8pm
Sunday 23 June
Nigeria v Spain, 8pm
Uruguay v Tahiti, 8pm