RIO DE JANEIRO (Sporting Alert) — Mexico and Italy get their FIFA Confederations Cup campaign underway on Sunday when the pair meet in a Group A clash at the refurbished Estadio do Maracana.
Watch Mexico vs Italy Live Streaming on ESPN and ESPN3.com.
Rio de Janeiro, Sunday 16 June, 3:00 pm ET
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North American champions Mexico comes into the tournament searching for their best form, following a very patching run in CONCACAF Hexagonal World Cup qualifiers, but head coach Jose Manuel De La Torre backs his team to go on a good run.
“[We] know how to beat big teams,” De La Torre said.
“We studied our opponents and will try to control Andrea Pirlo. We are not in awe of the Azzurri. We know how to beat the big teams.
“Italy play in a more attacking manner compared to the past, but they still defend very well. We’ll see if we can make the most of the spaces, but we won’t change our approach for this game.”
While Italy will look to midfield playmaker Pirlo to control things, Mexico will be hoping Manchester United forward Javier Hernandez can return to his goalscoring form, but also hope the service to the poacher is good enough.
Besides Hernandez, Mexico are hoping to have a good Confederations Cup performance from Giovani Dos Santos, who needs to provide that creative spark down the middle.
Also starting for Mexico are Carlos Salcido, Héctor Moreno, Gerardo Torrado and Andrés Guardado, with Aldo De Nigris, Hector Herrera Rubio and Pablo Barrera amongst the subs.
AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli leads the attacking line for Italy, while is clubmate Stephan El Shaarawy starts on the bench.
The Italians will look to Pirlo to provide the attackers with the services needed.
Head coach Cesare Prandelli has taken some criticism recently, but the Azzurri boss believes the Confederations Cup is just what his team needs to kick-start its spirit.
“This competition will help us improve our team spirit even more, and it will also allow us to look at several players who could be useful in the future,” said Prandelli, whose team finished runners-up to Spain at the UEFA EURO last year.
“We’ll be starting against Mexico, who tend to play with lots of intensity, combining technique with speed.
“The Mexicans aren’t here by mistake – they have quality in their team, particularly in attack.”
Also in the starting lineup for Italy are Daniele De Rossi, Riccardo Montolivo, Claudio Marchisio, Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli.
Alberto Aquilani and Alberto Gilardino are on the bench.
The day’s other game will see World Cup and European champions Spain taking on Uruguay in Group B.
Mexico v Italy Teams
Mexico: Corona, Rodriguez, Salcido, Flores, Moreno, Torrado, Aquino, Zavala, Guardado, Giovani, Hernandez
Subs: Ochoa, Reyes, Molina, Barrera, Reyna, De Nigris, Meza, Herrera, Jimenez, Torres, Mier, Talavera
Italy: Buffon, Chiellini, De Sciglio, Abate, Barzagli, Marchisio, De Rossi, Montolivo, Pirlo, Giaccherini, Balotelli
Subs: Sirigu, Maggio, Astori, Candreva, Aquilani, Giovinco, Gilardino, El Shaarawy, Cerci, Bonucci, Diamanti, Marchetti
Referee: Enrique Osses (Chile)