Brazil stun Spain in Confederations final

A brilliant Brazil have won the 2013 Confederations Cup, having stunned an out-of-sorts Spain with a 3-0 win.

The tournament hosts took an early lead before Spain could settle, when Fred bundled in from close range, after Gerard Pique and Alvaro Arbeloa failed to deal with a cross into the six-yard area.

La Roja struggled to control the early exchanges at the Maracana and Oscar narrowly missed doubling the South Americans’ lead when he pulled a shot just wide of Iker Casillas’ right-hand post.

And before 13 minutes was on the clock Casillas was called into action to deny Paulinho success from an audacious chipped effort outside the penalty area.

On the quarter-hour mark, Andres Iniesta’s loss of possession from a Spain corner resulted in Arbeloa’s booking for a foul near the halfway line in pulling back Neymar, as Brazil threatened to break.

A physical approach from the Selecao in midfield saw Spain unable to pass with usual regularity, with possession repeatedly given away.

From one such instance midway through the first half, Brazil countered and were left calling for Sergio Ramos’ dismissal. The Real Madrid man had brought down Oscar when played through on the edge of the penalty area, but was booked, in a similar decision to that with Arbeloa.

Just after the half-hour mark and Fred missed a great chance to make it 2-0. On yet another Brazil counter, Neymar played through the striker, only for his low effort to be saved by Casillas.

Five minutes before the break and Spain could have equalised with their first real chance, when Juan Mata squared to a free Pedro Rodriguez on a counter-attack, only for the Barcelona man’s effort to be cleared off the line by David Luiz.

However, it was Brazil who netted the second of the night a minute before the break, when Neymar was found in space by Oscar to finish high into the roof of the net.

The half-time whistle came with the hosts more than good value for their lead and Spain left looking out of sorts.

The second half began as the first ended, and Brazil quickly extended their lead to 3-0 as another direct push through Spain, courtesy of Marcelo, resulted in Fred finishing neatly with a side-footed low effort from the left corner of the penalty area.

Vicente del Bosque responded soon after by introducing Jesus Navas for Mata and the new Manchester City man made an instant impact as he was fouled in the penalty area by Marcelo.

Ramos stepped up to take the resulting spot-kick, but compounded Spain’s misery by pulling his low shot wide of Julio Cesar’s right-hand post.

La Roja continued to push forward, just as Brazil continued to threaten on the break, with Casillas more than once required to rush from his line.

The Selecao’s threat was not heeded, as midway through the second half Spain were made to suffer from a particular counter, when Neymar’s burst through the middle drew a last-man foul from Gerard Pique, who was subsequently shown a straight red card.

Spain struggled for much in the final third on from that incident, but with 10 minutes to go Julio Cesar was forced into a neat save from Pedro’s sweeping low effort from close range.

With five minutes to go it was David Villa who similarly brought out an acrobatic stop from Cesar.

These were La Roja’s only real sights at goal in a closing third to the match that Brazil otherwise comfortably saw out.

Brazil 3-0 Spain

Scorers: Fred 2, 47 (B), Neymar 44 (B)

Brazil: Julio Cesar; Alves, Thiago, Luiz, Marcelo; Paulinho (Hernanes 87), Gustavo; Hulk (Jadson 72), Oscar, Neymar; Fred (Jo 79)

Spain: Casillas; Arbeloa (Azpilicueta 46), Pique, Ramos, Alba; Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta; Pedro, Torres (Villa 59), Mata (Navas 52)

Ramos missed penalty 55 (Spain)

Pique sent off 68 (Spain)

Tags Brazil Confederations Cup Fred Neymar Spain
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