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Thursday 20 June 2013

Confederations Cup: Luiz and Oscar keep home fires burning

Brazil reach semi-finals after 2-1 win over Mexico; Shinji Kagawa scores in Japan's 4-3 loss to Italy

  • Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa celebrates after putting Japan 2-0 up against Italy

  • Southampton's Maya Yoshida looks on as Kagawa's header hits Gianluigi Buffon's bar

  • Chelsea's Oscar (right) and Brazil goalscorer Neymar during their 2-0 win over Mexico

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.

Remaining group fixtures

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

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Key Points

  • Chelsea duo David Luiz and Oscar helped Brazil overcome Mexico 2-0 to reach the Condfederations Cup semi-finals
  • Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa was on target for Japan, who lost 4-3 to Italy
  • A raft of Premier League players will be in action tonight as Spain meet Tahiti and Uruguay take on Nigeria