By JUSTIN FERGUSON
Several key international matches highlight this Soccer Saturday as the Confederations Cup gets underway in Brazil and the final four teams square off in the European Under-21 Championship.
The prelude to next summer’s FIFA World Cup kicks off with a battle between the two nations that are guaranteed to be back in Brazil in one year: the host nation and Japan. The pressure is on the Brazilian squad, a star-studded squad that is historically the best in this eight-team tournament. Japan, who recently locked down a qualification spot from the AFC, will bring their technical prowess to Brasilia in hopes of turning heads in a stacked group.
But the first international action of the day will happen in Israel, where four of the top youth national teams in UEFA will battle it out for continental supremacy. Spain, the only nation to go a perfect 3-0-0 in the group stages, faces a tough Norway side that created some late magic in their first three matches. That match will be followed by Italy and the Netherlands, two of the biggest powers in Europe.
Tonight, the United States women’s national team looks to continue their undefeated run with the first of two home friendlies against South Korea. Coach Tom Sermanni’s squad has scored three or more goals in five of its last seven matches, so look for plenty of offense tonight in Foxborough, Mass.
If you will be watching today’s action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.
Enjoy the action (Today’s TV schedule is after the jump):
11:30am – ESPN3 – Spain vs. Norway – U21
2:30pm – ESPN3 – Italy vs. Netherlands – U21
3pm – ESPN – Brazil vs. Japan
5pm – ESPN – Portland Timbers vs. Dallas FC
7pm – MLS Direct Kick – DC United vs. Toronto FC
7pm – ESPN3 – United States vs. South Korea – Women’s
7:30pm – MLS Direct Kick – Columbus Crew vs. Montreal Impact
9pm – MLS Direct Kick – Colorado Rapids vs. San Jose Earthquakes
10pm – MLS Direct Kick – Vancouver Whitecaps vs. New England Revolution