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Italy vs. Japan Confederations Cup Live Blog: Azzurri take on Blue Samurai

RECIFE, BRAZIL - JUNE 19:  Emanuele Giaccherini of Italy reacts with his team-mates after Atsuto Uchida of Japan scored an own goal during the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Group A match between Italy and Japan at Arena Pernambuco on June 19, 2013 in Recife, Brazil.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Christopher ImpigliaFeatured ColumnistJune 19, 2013

Italy grind out a tough 4-3 win against Japan. The Blue Samurai managed to take advantage of a tired looking Azzurri side, going up 2-0 at the break. They continued to dominate throughout the game, ultimately falling victim to some bad luck and poor defending. All credit to Italy, however, who demonstrated a champion's mentality to end Japan's Confederations Cup dreams. 

The Blue Samurai can only be encouraged by their performance. Italy's coach Prandelli himself admitted that the game wasn't easy.

Cesare Prandelli admits Italy “struggled like crazy” to beat Japan 4-3 http://t.co/4Gi8I4xAqS #ITAJPN

— footballitalia (@footballitalia) June 19, 2013

 

He went on to explain that the weather played a role in his side's lackluster display. "The humidity and heat is unbearable, so we have to figure out how to deal with it,” Prandelli said, in quotes given to Football-Italia.  

Prandelli has to be praised for his decision to remove Alberto Aquilani after only 30 minutes in order to chance the tactics of his side, which were clearly not working. The substitution played dividends, Giovinco eventually getting the winner.

For Japan, Zaccheroni was pleased with his side's performance, and was obviously disappointed with the result. “Obviously when you have the chance to win the game and moments later concede the decider there is going to be huge regret. My players deserved so much more from this match," he said after the match, as quoted by Football-Italia.

Could his side be a dark horse in the upcoming World Cup? If they can sort out their defense, I don't see why not. They demonstrated their ability to play neck-and-neck with a European soccer superpower. Kagawa and Honda, furthermore, were easily the best on the pitch. 

Daniele De Rossi sums it up in a post-match interview as quoted by Football-Italia. “Japan were incredible, so strong and powerful.”

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