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Monday, 1 July 2013

Confederations Cup Final: Brazil 3-0 Spain

2 goals from Fred and another from Neymar paved the way for a Brazilian demolition of one of the most revered national teams in history. Spain were never in it.

Before we get into details I just want to say what an absolutely fantastic game of football that was, entertaining from start to finish.
The Brazilian national anthem set the tone. Never has an anthem been belted out with such power and feeling. You could feel it watching on TV. And Spain were shaken by it in person. And this tidal wave of patriotism brought with it rewards as Brazil were in front in 2 minutes. Hulk crossed from the right and it was never dealt with by the Spanish defence and while Fred had missed the original cross, while lying on the floor he managed to hook his foot around the ball sending it into the net. The Maracana exploded. After 8 minutes it should have been 2, Oscar shot wide from 12 yards when he had other options, Brazil were playing on top of Spain, they had no air to breathe as the Brazilian pressing suffocated them. The game was at times fractious with Neymar and Arbeloa coming together on a couple of occasions.

Just after the half hour mark Brazil broke forward and Neymar played in Fred who shot straight at Casillas when he really should have scored. Brazil were nearly made to pay for missing these chances as Pedro was played in and shot past Julio Cesar but David Luiz flying back towards his own goal guided the ball over his own crossbar, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better clearance anytime soon. And almost straight away Brazil went up the other end and at the 2nd attempt Oscar with great intelligence slipped a pass to Neyar who hammered the ball past Casillas into the net. 44 minutes in and in truth it was all over. Brazil had pressed high up the pitch, passed the ball well and taken their chances. Spain had been poor but those in yellow had made them look poor.
If Spain were going to get back into the game as the cliché goes they had to score the next goal. But 2 minutes after the break Hulk played a pass into the path of Fred following a step over from Neymar and the former Lyon man clipped the ball in off the right hand post. It was all over. Or was it? Less than 10 minutes later Marcelo made a needless challenge on Navas who had just come on and Spain had a penalty and potentially a way back into the game even if they didn’t deserve it. Sergio Ramos stepped up but when things aren’t going your way they really don’t go your way and Ramos shot wide. And just to top off a dreadful night for the Spanish they were reduced to 10 men with just over 20 minutes to go when Pique realised he wasn’t going to get anywhere near Neymar and hacked down the latest Brazilian star on the edge of the area. The humiliation was complete.

The men in red did manage to muster a few chances towards the end of the game but Brazil knew the game was won and had taken their foot off the gas. By now the sting had gone out of the game, Brazil were happy with 3-0 and Spain were just happy it wasn’t anymore.
Before the game many people (me included) predicted a close game. Spain are the top team in the world but Brazil are a work in progress and improving all the time, but would that improvement be enough? On this night the evidence is clear, yes it was. Spain were outclassed and for much of the night outplayed, has their air of invincibility been taken away or was this result a one off? Only time will tell.

This may not be the end of Spain’s time at the top but this is definitely the start of the Brazilian resurrection.
Bring on 2014.

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