EURO U21 Semifinals / Brazil vs. Japan, Confederations Cup / Saturday Open Thread

Dean Mouhtaropoulos

Oh look, it's a bit of football in the middle of transfer season. Well, I guess if we have to, we have to.

First up we have some EURO U21 action. The competition has now moved into the knockout phase, with two semifinals to play today and a final to follow on Tuesday. Up first, in about a half hour, is overwhelming overall favorite Spain versus surprising Norway. Spain's superb young talent have dazzled - although perhaps not as much as expected unless they're all named Isco - while Norway have shown flashes of brilliance combined with effective counter attacks. It is the latter quality that gives them some hope versus the defending champions.

The second game (2:30 P.M. EDT) features a much more even and possibly a much more juicy encounter: Italy vs. Netherlands. Chelsea target Marco van Ginkel is expected to start for Jong Oranje, while Lorenzo Insigne faces a late fitness test for the Azzurrini.

A bit of a conflict arises thirty minutes after that kickoff, as the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup gets under way with hosts Brazil taking on Japan. Ever-present and lovable Chelsea duo David Luiz & Oscar should get the start and lead Brazil to what should be a very comfortable group stage victory.

Discuss.

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