Once more using our friends at EA Sports, ESPN ran a FIFA 13 simulation of this afternoon's Confederation Cup semifinal between Spain and Italy.
Which of the two most recent World Cup winners advances to the final for a showdown with host Brazil?
Without Mario Balotelli in the lineup, the Italians faced a difficult task against one of the tournament's favorites. It was the Azzuri who looked up to the task in the opening minutes, with a Giaccherini shot ringing off the woodwork in the 12th and De Rossi screamer over the crossbar in the 18th. The Italians were soon rewarded as De Rossi struck in the 28th to take a 1-0 lead against a flat-footed Spanish defense that left the keeper with no chance.
The Spaniards however, begun to pick up the pace and dominate possession, which worked in their favor. Xavi was able to sneak a curled shot through the defense and past the Italian keeper in a nifty one-two play with David Villa just before the halftime whistle.
The Italians again brought high pressure to start the second half, but it was Spain took control and dictated the tempo despite the on-and-off rainy conditions. Building through the midfield, Xavi spotted a run, and his perfectly-timed ball found Fernando Torres as he cut inside the box, rifling a shot into the back of the net in the 71st. The Italians were unable to respond in the final stages of the match. Torres' goal would prove be enough to secure the comeback 2-1 victory and a spot in the Cup final against the host nation Brazil on Sunday.
ITA – De Rossi 28' (Unassisted)
ESP – Xavi 45'+1' (A – David Villa)
ESP – Torres 71' (A - Xavi)