June 14, 2013

Brazil vs. Japan Confederations Cup Pick

Matchup: Brazil vs. Japan

Date/Time: June 15th, 3:00 p.m. ET

Television: ESPN3.com

Soccer Betting Odds from WagerWeb Sportsbook

Asian Handicap: Brazil -1.5 (-130)

Total: 3 (Over -115)

The Confederations Cup kicks off on Saturday afternoon, as the host nation of the event, Brazil takes on Japan in a battle of two teams that probably shouldn’t be sharing a pitch with one another. The soccer betting lines come off the board at 3:00 p.m. ET with this match that takes place at the Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha in Brasilia, Brazil.

Obviously, the hosts are going to be under a heck of a lot of pressure to get the job done in the first match of this tournament. It doesn’t matter that this is a secondary tournament by any stretch of the imagination. The Brazilians want to see their team win and win at all costs. Manager Luiz Felipe Scolari has put together a squad that looks absolutely nothing like the team that was at the Confederations Cup four years ago. Julio Cesar will once again be the team’s net minder, but aside from him and Dani Alves, there isn’t another man on the squad from 2009 that is going to be playing here in the homeland for the Confederations Cup. We haven’t seen much out of the Brazilians, knowing that they are already automatically qualified for the World Cup as the host nation, but with names like Oscar, Hulk, and of course the now famous Neymar, there is plenty of firepower to account for goals in this tournament.

Ironically, there is only one other team in the entire world that has assured that it will be playing in the World Cup this year, and that other team is none other than Japan. The Japanese already have 17 points and a +11 goal differential in the AFC World Cup Qualifying Group, and that ensures that they are going to be in the biggest tournament in the world. The Samurai Blue have an Italian tactician as a coach in Alberto Zaccheroni, and he figures to come up with a game plan that will take this team into the knockout stage of the Confederations Cup. Keisuke Honda has become a legendary name in Japanese soccer, and he is back in form after missing all of the opening qualifying matches in the first stage of the competition in Asia. Alas, the Japanese outscored Jordan and Oman by a combined score of 9-0, which got qualifying for the major tournament off on the right foot. The team runs a 4-2-3-1, which looks awfully similar to the form that the United States has been using in its quest to qualify for the World Cup. Shinji Kagawa is an internationally known name now that he is with Manchester United while Ryoichi Maeda is turning into a great goal scorer for the club as well as the man at the top of the formation.

We think that this is going to be a great match for the Samurai Blue. These two have played nine matches against each other in the past, and Brazil has never been beaten. It doesn’t have to be this time around, as even a one-goal win for the host nation gives us enough for the cover. Japan won’t back down, and it should end up with at least a respectable result.

Brazil vs. Japan Pick: Japan +1.5 (+100)

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Adam Markowitz

is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.

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