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Posted by:
ozymandias
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This is the match I've been waiting for since the tournament started. It's not often that two teams this good would meet in anything other than the World Cup. Which is another reason you should love the Confederations Cup.

But Italy is playing like crap, you say. And Italy are notoriously slow starters and might just get burned by it this time. And you take the time to point out that should Italy lose, it could possibly not go through into the semi-finals. And, because you're a homer, you point out that the US is still mathematically alive.

So, in descending order of ridiculousness: first, the US will not make it into the semi-finals. I sincerely doubt they'll even get a point against Egypt. Which means the Pharaohs will win. (I'll go ahead and pick a score of 2-1.) That gives the Pharaohs 6 points and a plus-1 goal differential.

Which brings us to Italy. If they lose, they and their kickin' new jerseys and brown (brown!) shorts are out. I don't think it's true that they're playing like crap; I think they took Egypt too lightly and got burned. It's also true that they're slow starters; but that can't be an excuse now. So, they need a win (Italy has a goal differential of plus-1, therefore any win will give them a goal differential of plus-2 at least; problems arise if Egypt lays the hammer down on the US and blows them away). If they draw, they need to hope for an Egypt loss.

So, this is win or go home. And I think Italy will win. I'd like to think that there's some form of Italian pride. I'd also like to think they learned their lesson from taking Egypt too lightly, which means they'll come out with both barrels blazing. Which, to me, means Luca Toni joining Vincenzo Iaquinta or Alberto Gilardino up front. Giuseppe Rossi also needs to start. I would sit Fabio Cannavaro because he looked out of shape in the last match.

If all goes well and Italy catch some breaks, they'll win 1-0 and receive the honor of losing to Spain in the semi-finals.

The match is on ESPN at 2:30PM EST on 21 June 2009.

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