Confederations Cup – Group A Focus: The World Cup trail hots up in Brazil

The road to the 2014 World Cup finals kicks off in earnest as Brazil look to make an impression both on and off the pitch during the Confederations Cup. They are joined by Italy, Mexico and Japan in an eye-catching Group A, which promises to deliver an exciting dress rehearsal for next summer’s main event.

The Brazilians get things going against Alberto Zaccheroni’s Japan in a game that will be the first competitive international fixture to make use of goal-line technology. The hosts have included the likes of Neymar, Oscar and Hulk, although the Premier League’s Rafael da Silva and Ramires have been left out, in addition to Kaka, Ronaldinho and Alexandre Pato. They are seeking to win their third consecutive Confederations Cup, having triumphed last time out in South Africa and also in Germany in 2005.

Luis Felipe Scolari, who took over last December, has been tasked with igniting Brazil’s fortunes prior to their staging of the World Cup. He led the Sele

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