The hosts, Brazil, will be aiming to retain their trophy for the third consecutive time following final victories against United States (2009) and Argentina (2005). However, form has dipped in recent years, blamed in some quarters by a lack of competitive fixtures due to their automatic spot in the World Cup. This was typified last week when they found themselves 22nd in the FIFA rankings, their lowest spot ever. They may draw confidence from their 3-0 warm-up victory over France, though, as they begin the tournament against Japan on Saturday.
Italy earned qualification for the event as UEFA Euro 2012 runners-up after Spain won both the 2010 World Cup and the Championship in Poland and Ukraine. They kick off their tournament against Mexico on Sunday, following a shock 2-2 draw with Haiti in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday which left head coach Cesare Prandelli red faced. They had only flown in to Brazil one day before the fixture, so they will hope jet-lag does not play a part when they get started on the weekend. via – Soccerway