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Brazil encouraged by Pirlo absence

22 June 2013 07:09

Brazil midfielder Hernanes says Andrea Pirlo's absence from Saturday's Confederations Cup match will be detrimental for opponents Italy.

The talismanic midfielder will miss the Group A clash with a leg injury and Hernanes said Italy will struggle to build attacks without him.

The contest is a warm-up for both nations ahead of the Cup semi-finals, as both have secured progression to the final four after wins in their first two matches over Japan and Mexico.

"It will be great loss for them because we all know that Pirlo is the one who starts all the plays, who makes their long passes, who takes all the free kicks and the corners ... so he will be a great loss for Italy on Saturday," Hernanes said.

The clash at Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Bahia, will see the two nations meet for the second time in 2013, after their 2-2 friendly draw in March.

But Brazil fullback Dani Alves said their minds were only on finishing the group stages on a high, not the past and certainly not a potential title on home soil.

"Right now we are only thinking about the present, we don't think about our future in this competition," Alves said.

"The only thing we are focusing on is the match against Italy.

"We are going to try and finish in top spot in our group, and then later we might think about the next stage going further in the Confederations Cup.

"But this is football we often have to deal with different things and sometimes things can surprise you in this game.

"Just because people expect us to do well, that does not mean it will automatically happen, in the last tournament everyone wanted us to reach the final and it didn't happen."

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