Preview: Expect a highly entertaining clash between la Furia Roja and gli Azzurri
Spain and Italy are no strangers--with the two sides last meeting up in the Confederations Cup where after a 0-0 stalemate the reigning World Cup and EURO champions emerged victorious after a penalty shoot-out. In fact, la Furia Roja presently hold the better record with three wins out of their last five meetings, with gli Azzurri's last triumph coming back in August 2011 when goals from Riccardo Montolivo and Alberto Aquilani were enough to cancel out Xabi Alonso's equalising spot-kick.
Indeed, so familiar are the duo that Italian national team coach Cesare Prandelli mused that being they are "certain" to meet at some point in Brazil, "it would have been better not to play this game, as I'm sure we'll progress in the World Cup and end up facing off against them anyway. But our organisers wanted it."
A host of celebrities are expected to be at the venue with Brazilian actors Fernanda Lima and Rodrigo Hilbert lined up to host the show. Football legends Sir Geoff Hurst, Zinedine Zidane, Cafu and Fabio Cannavaro will have the task of plucking out the balls which will decide the destiny of every participating nation.
The draw will be conducted in the same manner it has been for a number of decades. The 32 teams who have qualified for the World Cup finals will be divided into eight groups labelled A-H. Each section will consist of four teams.
Preview: South Africa's final match in 2013 will be a tough test
Spain will return to Johannesburg, where they lifted the World Cup trophy in 2010. This time the match will not be as important, but Vicente del Bosque's side will want to come away with another victory.
Both countries will be taking part in their final match in 2013, and neither will want to end things on a negative note.
For the current World Champions, they have continued their dominance in world football, as they claimed the top spot in their World Cup Qualification group. In a group that included France, La Roja were able to take first place, giving them yet another presence in a World Cup.
Preview: La Roja under fire for scheduling this friendly match
Spain's presence in Equatorial Guinea has been considered the most important day in their sporting history by the government's official press bureau. But for others, Spain's visit to the once Spanish colony in West Africa has generated a lot of buzz.
The disparity in wealth between rich and poor is shocking. While some live a lavish lifestyle, others suffer to live their lives, earning less than $1 a day.
Five different ESPN channels – ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPN, Watch ESPN and ESPN Deportes – will combine to feed viewers in the United States with top action from across the globe. It all begins this Wednesday with the thrilling intercontinental playoff between El Tri of Mexico and the Kiwis of New Zealand. The second leg of this tie, scheduled for November 20, will close ESPN networks’ international break coverage.
On Thursday, there will be an enticing friendly between world football’s fourth and fifth-ranked nations – Belgium and Colombia, respectively. This battle should serve as a perfect platform for both teams to test themselves ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
And it does not stop here as ESPN will mark your Friday with five matches from Europe. This package includes USA’s vital friendly fixture against Scotland and all UEFA World Cup qualifying playoffs.
FIFA World Cup – 21 qualified nations as of October 2013
On October 15, seven countries added their names to the list of World Cup 2014 participants. The current 21 contenders are:
- Asia: Japan, South Korea, Iran, Australia
- CONCACAF: United States of America, Costa Rica, Honduras
- CONMEBOL: Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador
- UEFA: Spain, England, Russia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany.
Preview: La Furia Roja hoping to seal automatic World Cup qualification
Spain are currently top of the table in Group I but are ahead of France only on goal difference with a match in hand. If Spain manage to notch up four points from their remaining two games they will be guaranteed a place in the World Cup next year, anything less than that may force them to participate in the play offs.
Swansea City forward Michu made headlines as he earned his first ever call up to the national side. The 27 year old has heavily impressed following his move to the Liberty Stadium from Rayo Vallecano back in 2012. In his 41 league appearances for the Welsh side, Michu has managed to score 20 times for the Premier League outfit and is relishing his chances of sharing the dressing room with some of the finest players in the world.
This online streaming service will spoil you during the next few days with its amazing package of 20 international matches – 19 of those being World Cup qualifiers and the other one being a friendly match between Les Bleus of France and the Socceroos of Australia.
Some of the top teams featuring in ESPN3’s selection between October 11 and October 15 are Croatia, Netherlands, Turkey, Russia and of course, America’s very own USMNT. For more information:
A look at the Top 20
The Top 20 has experienced a considerable shake up. Robin van Persie’s Netherlands and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal have both gone four places down and are now ninth and 11th respectively.
Bosnia-Herzegovina, despite enjoying a great World Cup qualifying campaign this year, have gone from 13th to 18th. England’s Three Lions are just above them, having exited the Top 15 to be 17th in the ranking.
There is good news for Mario Balotelli’s Italy, though. The Azzurri are now considered as the fourth best nation in world football. Emerging European force Belgium have moved four places up to sixth – one rank above Luis Suarez’s Uruguay.
Preview: A good test for two potential World Cup 2014 participants
Chile should take this friendly match very seriously. It is an excellent opportunity for them to check their flaws and test their strength in depth. Playing against La Furia Roja is never an easy task. Over the past five years, very few teams have managed to defeat the 2010 FIFA World Cup and two-time European Championship winners.
The Chileans enter Tuesday’s encounter in great shape, having hit Venezuela with three goals to nothing in the South American World Cup qualifiers last Friday. With this straightforward victory, they secured themselves a position in the Top Five of the CONMEBOL standings.
European World Cup qualifiers: Italy and Bulgaria vie for top spot
Group B of the UEFA qualification campaign has seen Bulgaria offer very stern resistance to the mighty Italians for an automatic berth to Brazil. As things stand, the Azzurri are on top of the table with 14 points from four games, followed by the Bulgarians who have 10 points and lead third placed Czech Republic by only one point.
The Bulgarians drew 2-2 with Italy in the reverse fixture and the two sides are set to lock horns again, this time at Renzo Barbera stadium. A win for Italy will draw them ever so close to an automatic berth while a defeat might spell curtains for Bulgaria if the Czechs manage to beat Armenia at home.
Preview: Spain looking to cement the first spot with a strong win over Finland
Last time the two sides met Finland fought valiantly to restrict Spain to a 1-1 draw. Sergio Ramos opened up the scoring for La Roja in what was a very dominant display from the reigning World Cup winners. However the Spanish defence was caught napping as Teemu Pukki struck home a cross to bring the scores level at 1-1.
Despite an unfavourable result Spain are still at the top of the group, but have France trailing them by just a single point.
Preview: Del Bosque looks on to U-21 stars for International Friendly
Del Bosque made as many seven changes to the 20 man squad set to face Ecuador at the Estadio Monumental Isidro Romero Carbo. Many of these players were part of the Spanish U-21 squad which enjoyed a triumphant run in the European U-21 competition earlier this year.
Real Madrid’s summer acquisition Isco and new Bayern Munich signing Thiago Alcantara head the list of stars which have made the cut, other players which have been included in the Spanish roster include Inigo Martinez, Koke and Tello whereas first team members Xavi, Juan Mata and Gerard Pique have been rested.
FIFA released its latest ranking on Thursday. The Top 12 remains unchanged. Double European Championship winners and World Cup titleholders Spain are still at the summit. The Spaniards are followed by Germany and Radamel Falcao’s Colombia. The latter are feeling the heat, though, as Lionel Messi’s Argentina stand just a place behind with 1,210 points.
England suffered a blow in July as they bowed out of the Top 10. They have regained a bit of pride by moving up to 14th on the table. The biggest fall in the Top 20 was recorded by Ivory Coast; the Elephants have gone five places down and are now in 18th position.
The United States, however, have something to smile about. The country is improving on the world stage. With the help of living legend Landon Donovan, USA elegantly triumphed at the just-ended CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament.
If it does not seem right in world football to see five-time world champions Brazil suffer, things have now started looking correct. Glittering from their tremendous performances at the just-ended 2013 Confederations Cup, the Samba Boys have rocketed back in the top 10 of the FIFA Ranking. Still, it would take much more than a one-sided 3-0 win against Spain in the Confeds Final for Neymar and his colleagues to kick La Furia Roja away from the summit.
The Brazilians entered the tournament ranked 22nd in the world. In other words, this signified their worst ever position in the chart. Their South American rivals, Uruguay, have also jumped seven places and are now 12th whereas Colombia surprisingly occupy the third spot behind Spain and Germany.
Preview: Neymar’s final pre-Barcelona test
The players that are going to be involved in the Confederations Cup final know each other’s faces too much. The game will be a mix-up of mainly Barcelona, Real Madrid and Chelsea stars; Sergio Ramos, Iker Casillas, Shakira’s husband Gerard Pique, Fernando Torres, David Luiz and the list of Blanco, Catalan and Blue names goes on…
Evidently, a certain matchup stands out above the rest: it is the meeting between Neymar and his new Barca team mates. Will the Brazil number 10 forward play the villain by single-handedly upsetting favourites Spain or will he suffer from intimidation towards the greatness of Xavi, Iniesta and company?
At the tournament, the young chap has shown that oppositions cannot keep him quiet throughout a match. His outstanding volleys against Japan and Mexico set Brazil on perfect note. Against Italy, his free-kick stunned world-class goalkeeper Buffon.
If Uruguay thought they had found the way to shut down Neymar in the semis, they were wrong. The 21-year-old seemed to struggle to find his space until the final moments of the match when he exhibited his cheekiness to literally kiss Uruguay goodbye by assisting Paulinho’s late winner.
Critics believe that the ex-Santos playmaker has yet to prove himself and much to learn in Europe. Before commencing his club football challenge in Spain, the Brazil vs Spain Confederations Cup final offers Neymar two simple options: a flattering triumph over the world’s best team or a maturity lesson through defeat.
In any case, football is not a one-man game and tonight's game is not just about Neymar. Fernando Torres has the habit of scoring in finals while Brazil have vowed to end the Spanish era. The angles connected to this encounter are numerous and extremely engaging. In fact, the efforts and mistakes of all players involved will shape up this glorious Confederations Cup 2013 final at the Maracaña stadium in Rio.
Where to watch the match live – Start time, live stream, TV channels
The whole world has its eyes fixed on unfolding events in Brazil where the FIFA World Cup will take place next year. This summer, though, the stage has been set for eight nations from six different confederations to battle it out in six cities.
Brazil were pitched as hosts in Group A against 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup champions Mexico, AFC powerhouse Japan and four-time FIFA World Cup winners Italy. In Group B, minnows Tahiti – 2012 OFC Nations Cup champions – were put against UEFA Euro 2012 kings Spain. La Furia Roja qualified on top of Luis Suarez’s CONMEBOL giants Uruguay while ambitious AFCON 2013 heroes Nigeria had to crash out in the first round.
The 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup is as spicy as one could wish. Do not miss any of the thrilling Confederations Cup matches between June 15 and June 30. Make sure to bookmark this page and check regularly for important channel and TV schedule updates throughout the 2013 Confederations Cup tournament.
Confederations Cup 2013 Live Streaming and TV Listings: Third-place Final & Grand Finale
As an appetizer for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the competition has conjured up an array of wonderful projection and class in front of goal, cataloguing thirty six goals in total so far.
The public has been enlightened with a brave and untested Tahiti side whilst evidence of a £49m striker has been emphatically displayed in the number ten Brazil shirt, living up to his expectations.
Here is a count down of the top 5 goals of the tournament, as compiled by Live Soccer TV. This list may not receive the agreement of all readers but that is what footbal is about: differences for a more colourful world! And as one would expect, we want you to take part in this 'Top 5 Best Goals' list by sharing your views. Watch video highlights of our selected goals and judge for yourself. Ahead of the Confederations Cup 2013 Final and Third-place Final on June 30, what are the five goals that have stunned you most?