THE BIG MATCH

Italy vs. Brazil: First place and a spot in the semifinals will likely be up for grabs when these two soccer super powers, who have combined to win nine World Cups, meet in the final game of the group schedule. 

STANDINGS

TEAMS  GP  W  D  L  GF  GA  PTS
<img src="/sports/soccer/FIFAconfederationscup/includes/imgs/flags/sml/brazil.jpg" alt= "brazil"/>[/CUSTOM] BRAZIL ** 3 3  0  0 10 3 9
<img src="/sports/soccer/FIFAconfederationscup/includes/imgs/flags/sml/usa.jpg" alt= "United States"/>[/CUSTOM]UNITED STATES ** 3 1  0  2  4 6 3
<img src="/sports/soccer/FIFAconfederationscup/includes/imgs/flags/sml/italy.jpg" alt= "Italy"/>[/CUSTOM] ITALY 3 1  0  2  3 5 3
<img src="/sports/soccer/FIFAconfederationscup/includes/imgs/flags/sml/egypt.jpg" alt= "Egypt"/>[/CUSTOM] EGYPT 3 1  0  2  4 7 3

** qualifies for semifinals

SCHEDULE AND RESULTS

 MATCH  DATE - TIME TEAMS       EXTRA
 3  June 15 - 10:00 AM ET <img src="/sports/soccer/FIFAconfederationscup/includes/imgs/flags/sml/brazil.jpg" alt="brazil"/>[/CUSTOM] BRAZIL vs.  <img src="/sports/soccer/FIFAconfederationscup/includes/imgs/flags/sml/egypt.jpg" alt="Egypt"/>[/CUSTOM] EGYPT Game Report | Full Game Video | Video Highlights | Game Tracker
 Venue: Mangaung/Bloemfontein  - Final Result: Brazil wins 4-3        
 4  June 15 - 2:30 PM ET <img src="/sports/soccer/FIFAconfederationscup/includes/imgs/flags/sml/usa.jpg" alt="United States"/>[/CUSTOM] UNITED STATES   <img src="/sports/soccer/FIFAconfederationscup/includes/imgs/flags/sml/italy.jpg" alt="Italy"/>[/CUSTOM] ITALY Game Report | Full Game Video  | Video Highlights | Game Tracker 
 Venue: Tshwane/Pretoria - Final Result: Italy wins 3-1          
 7  June 18 - 10:00 AM ET <img src="/sports/soccer/FIFAconfederationscup/includes/imgs/flags/sml/usa.jpg" alt="United States"/>[/CUSTOM] UNITED STATES   <img src="/sports/soccer/FIFAconfederationscup/includes/imgs/flags/sml/brazil.jpg" alt="brazil"/>[/CUSTOM] BRAZIL Game Report | Full Game Video  | Video Highlights  | Game Tracker  
 Venue: Tshwane/Pretoria  - Final result: Brazil wins 3-0         
 8  June 18 - 2:30 PM ET <img src="/sports/soccer/FIFAconfederationscup/includes/imgs/flags/sml/egypt.jpg" alt="Egypt"/>[/CUSTOM] EGYPT   <img src="/sports/soccer/FIFAconfederationscup/includes/imgs/flags/sml/italy.jpg" alt="Italy"/>[/CUSTOM] ITALY Game Report | Full Game Video  | Video Highlights  | Game Tracker   
 Venue: Johannesburg - Final result: Egypt wins 1-0          
 11  June 21 - 2:30 PM ET <img src="/sports/soccer/FIFAconfederationscup/includes/imgs/flags/sml/italy.jpg" alt="Italy"/>[/CUSTOM] ITALY   <img src="/sports/soccer/FIFAconfederationscup/includes/imgs/flags/sml/brazil.jpg" alt="brazil"/>[/CUSTOM] BRAZIL Game Report | Full Game Video  | Video Highlights  | Game Tracker   
 Venue: Tshwane/Pretoria - Final result: Brazil wins 3-0          
 12  June 21 - 2:30 PM ET <img src="/sports/soccer/FIFAconfederationscup/includes/imgs/flags/sml/egypt.jpg" alt="Egypt"/>[/CUSTOM] EGYPT   <img src="/sports/soccer/FIFAconfederationscup/includes/imgs/flags/sml/usa.jpg" alt="United States"/>[/CUSTOM] UNITED STATES Game Report | Full Game Video | Video Highlights  | Game Tracker   
 Venue: Rustenburg  - Final result: United States wins 3-0      

EXPERT PICKS

Nigel Reed, CBC Sports soccer commentator: For the neutral fan, Group B looks to be, altogether, a more interesting quartet. At first glance it appears to be a stroll into the semifinals for heavyweights Brazil and Italy, but I believe it will be more competitive than it looks on paper. 

The Brazilians have the ability to export their entertaining, carefree brand of soccer anywhere and as defending champions, I have no doubts about their progress - probably as group winners. By contrast, I'm not so sure about the Italians. They are not the same team that won the World Cup three years ago and their relatively poor showing at Euro 2008 is a real concern.  

The Americans are going full steam ahead in World Cup qualifying and will be hungry to show their more illustrious opponents they can be a force to be reckoned with in South Africa. In a similar vein, Egypt arrives as back-to-back African Champions and will be in confident mood as one of the continent's leading nations. 

The scheduling, however, doesn't do the Americans or the Egyptians any favours. Both must survive stern tests against Brazil and Italy before facing each other in the concluding game of the group stages. 

If tradition and world ranking is factored in, it's difficult to argue against Brazil and Italy advancing, but I have a feeling the Americans can cause problems for the Italians in their opening game, and a positive result for Bob Bradley's team could throw the whole group wide open. 

Prediction: 1. Brazil, 2. Italy, 3. United States, 4. Egypt  

Jason de Vos, CBC Sports soccer commentator: I'm tempted to pick the United States to go through to the semifinals in Group B. Not because I have any great affection for them - quite the opposite, actually. I envy the United States and their commitment to football, but not in a nice way; it's more of a jealous "Why Canada can't we be more like them?" kind of way.

There was once a time when Canada was virtually level with the United States when it came to talent, but those days are long gone. They have developed their game in leaps and bounds while we have floundered year after year. They consistently qualify their teams for FIFA's major championships, while we continue to struggle. We are the poor cousins to their country club elite.

However, they are in for a difficult time in Group B. Both Brazil and Italy are fielding strong line-ups in South Africa. The Selecao, as the Brazilians are called, are without the likes of Ronaldinho and Ronaldo, yet they still boast a formidable squad. Look for Kaka, Robinho and Pato to spark their creative energy.

The Italians are taking a bit of a different approach by only initially naming 13 of their players, allowing the remaining players to battle it out for a seat on the plane to South Africa. Still, the likes of Buffon, Cannavaro, Pirlo, De Rossi and Toni will all be on show, so you can be sure that the Italians will be taking the competition seriously. 

The fourth team in Group B, Egypt, have left well-known striker Mido off their roster, citing "tactical" reasons for his absence. His dispute with Amr Zaki has been well publicized, and it leaves one to wonder if Mido's omission is down to team chemistry more than anything else. 

Prediction: 1. Brazil, 2. Italy, 3. United States, 4. Egypt    

John F. Molinaro, CBCSports.ca reporter: Of the two groups, this one has to be considered the Group of Death.

Brazil and Italy are the class of the group, but don't discount the U.S. so easily because the Americans are a useful and well-organized side that is capable of giving any team a run for its money.

Brazilian coach Carlos Dunga has brought his "A" team to South Africa and has such roster depth that he could field two sides that would be capable of winning the tournament. A Brazilian starting lineup that boasts Kaka, Pato and Robinho sends pulses racing, and no doubt has fans of beautiful game salivating at the prospect of the kind of magic the Selecao will conjure up.

Dunga's team is a balanced one, with strength at every position, and that should be enough to allow the South Americans to win the group.

Italy comes to South Africa with a bit of a point to prove. Italian soccer took it on the chin this year, what with Serie A clubs failing to get to the Champions League quarter-finals, and the national side just holding on to a slim lead over Ireland in the World Cup qualifiers.

Coach Marcello Lippi will see this tournament as an opportunity for the Azzrurri to restore some pride and remind everyone else that Italy are the defending world champions and a serious threat to repeat next summer.  

I really like the U.S. and how coach Bob Bradley has struck a perfect balance between experienced veterans and exciting young prospects. They'll challenge Italy for second place, but in the end, I don't think the Americans have what it takes to upset the world champions.

Egypt will struggle, if for no other reason that aside from Amr Zaki they don't have a world-class striker who can put the ball in the net. In fact, it's hard to see them outscoring any of their group opponents, which is why I think they'll finish last.

Prediction: 1. Brazil, 2. Italy, 3. United States, 4. Egypt