Italy face Asian champions Japan in a Group B match at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. The four-time World Cup winners are the defending champions in Brazil, having won the title in South Africa four years ago.
Cesare Prandelli's men got off to a splendid start in their first game, overcoming Mexico 2-1. Veteran midfielder Andrea Pirlo scored a sumptuous free kick and former Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli the second, with Manchester United's Javier Hernandez netting a penalty in between those strikes.
Meanwhile, Japan slumped to a 0-3 defeat against the host nations, for whom new Barcelona signing Neymar was in excellent form. The margin of that defeat, however, should not detract from the Japanese's performance, which was, overall, reasonable.
The Asian giants are coached by former Italy international Alberto Zaccheroni, who has also coached all of the Serie A's top clubs in the past. That may give the underdogs an advantage in this tie.
Where to Watch Italy v Japan Live
Kick-off is set for 11pm BST. Live coverage is on BBC One and BBC One HD. Real time commentary and updates are available on FIFA's Confederations Cup Web site, here.
The Italians come into this game with a mixed bag of results in recent games, which made the win over Mexico all the more important. Prandelli is eager to change the stereotypical view of Italian football and has set his stall out to attack.
The results have been quite good, with 10 goals from the last five games in all competitions. The national team has been unbeaten, in all competitions, since the 1-2 defeat to France in an international friendly in November.
What will worry Prandelli a little is the fact his players have struggled to win against the top teams. Since mid-August, Italy have faced England, France, Holland, the Czech Republic and Brazil, with two defeats and three draws.
And with a competitive game against the Seleção still to come, Prandelli will need his players to capitalise on the win against Mexico with three more points in this game and ensure a semi final berth.
Meanwhile, Zaccheroni has his work cut out to take Japan into the semi final. The Asians were outclassed by Brazil at critical moments in the match but put on a good show overall. However, they will need to be significantly more incisive and creative up front to trouble the Italians, whose reputation for defensive solidity is legendary.
Japan have two defeats from their last five matches, with Brazil and Bulgaria their victors. And, like Italy, they too have struggled against top opposition, with wins against Canada and Latvia not really a notable effort for a team with their ambitions.
What the Coaches Say
Cesare Prandelli (Italy): "Japan will have the slight edge, I think, because they have an extra day of rest. Plus, Alberto knows us very well, he knows how we work. I expect him to prepare a trap for us. I trust that he will come up with an interesting strategy against us."
Alberto Zaccheroni (Japan): "We weren't able to demonstrate our abilities against Brazil. We only showed about 50 per cent of what we can do. We take the field (against Italy) knowing that this is like a final for us. We will be giving it our all, because we know that if we lose it's all over.''
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): W D D W D
- Last Match: Mexico 1 - 2 Italy
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): L W D L W
- Last Match: Brazil 3 - 0 Japan
Prandelli is unlikely to make any changes for this game... indeed he has no reason to. The only possible alteration could be to introduce AC Milan's Stephan El-Shaarawy in place of Juventus' Emanuele Giaccherini, to see if a forward line of Milan's Balotelli and El-Shaarawy can vibe better together.
Probable Line-Up: Buffon; Abate, Barzagli, Chiellini, Sciglio; Rossi, Pirlo, Montolivo; Marchisio, Giaccherini; Balotelli
Japan will be relieved that key playmaker Keisuke Honda remains available. Elsewhere, Zaccheroni needs big-name players like United's Shinji Kagawa and Stuttgart's Shinji Okazaki to come to the party.
Probable Line-Up: Kawashima; Uchida, Yoshida, Konno, Nagatomo; Hasebe, Endo; Okazaki, Honda, Kagawa; Maeda