Italy face Brazil with early exit looming

PRETORIA - Fabio Cannavaro will aim to mark the Confederations Cup match against Brazil in style on Sunday when the central defender is due to equal Paolo Maldini's all-time Italy appearance record of 126 caps. The 35-year-old World Cup-winning captain, who made his international debut 12 years ago, will also be hoping Sunday's match is not Italy's last in the tournament following their shock 1-0 defeat by African champions Egypt on Thursday. That loss has left the world champions in a precarious position in Group B and not even a win over the South American champions and Confederations Cup holders at a sold-out Loftus Versfeld stadium will guarantee them a place in the last four. Cannavaro has decided to stay with the squad and help their cause despite learning of the death of his grandfather after Wednesday's defeat. Brazil are top of the standings with six points and should advance to the alst four while Italy and Egypt have three points each. The United States are bottom with no points. Italy's goal difference is plus one while Egypt's is zero and so even if the Italians beat Brazil they could be eliminated if the Egyptians thump the U.S. by a bigger margin. The United States, despite having no points and a 1-6 goal tally, are also, mathematically at least, still in with an unlikely chance of a place in the last four. Italy (four wins) and Brazil (five) have won the World Cup more times than any other nations and have competed in two World Cup finals against each other, with Brazil beating Italy 4-1 in 1970 and on penalties in 1994 after a 0-0 draw. Their most recent match was in London in February when Brazil won 2-0 with goals from Manchester City team mates Elano and Robinho. A similar result on Sunday would ruin Cannavaro's big day. Egypt and the U.S. meet for the first time ever on Sunday with the Egyptians eager to get back on the pitch after having cash and other items stolen from their hotel rooms while they were beating Italy on Thursday.