Brazil raise Spanish inquisition

It all has a familiar ring to it – Fernando Torres wins the golden boot and a Barcelona player stars in the final, going on to be named player of the tournament. Last summer it was the European Championships, this summer the Confederations Cup. Except this time the trophy wasn't bathed in La Roja red, rather dancing to the samba beat, as a Neymar-inspired Brazil bumped the European and World Champions Spain back down to planet earth.

Journalist Jeff Rusnak commented that the tie was over after the national anthems, such was the velocity and passion with which the Maracana belted out their country's hymn, and with hindsight it's difficult to disagree. Within two minutes Fred increased the voltage further inside the famous stadium, lifting the ball home as he lay sprawled on the floor inside the six-yard box, and Brazil rarely looked back as they ended Spain's 29-match unbeaten run in competitive games.

Sergio Ramos bemoaned that “[Brazil] knew exactly how to play against [Spain],” presumably referring to the intensity of their pressing – never better demonstrated than when Oscar hacked at the back of Andres Iniesta's legs, his sole intention disrupting the Spanish side's passing game. David Luiz's goal-line clearance from Pedro Rodriguez, with the score still 1-0, proved definitive and, after Barca's Neymar had made it 2-0, there were few arguments that Brazil deserved their half-time lead.

Fred's second immediately after the break, if the national anthems hadn't, killed the match. Ramos did still have time to miss a penalty, while even if Julio Cesar hadn't saved expertly from Pedro and David Villa it would have been unlikely to yield a comeback. All the while it was the hosts who looked most dangerous, and they may have added a fourth if Gerard Pique hadn't seen red for hauling down his new colleague, Neymar, with 20 minutes remaining.

There were few complaints from Vicente del Bosque who was happy to confirm that Brazil were the better team and congratulate them – after all, he'd seen the same game as everyone else.

In isolation the defeat carries less than the immediate jaw-dropping reaction the result might suggest. Spain had an off day, while Brazil were inspired, but now it's important that Del Bosque answers several questions ahead of their probable return to South America for next summer's World Cup.

Alvaro Arbeloa, who endured a torrid 45 minutes up against Neymar and co, was hauled off at the interval, and Spain must now find a solution to their right-back dilemma. Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta replaced him on Sunday night, but Real Madrid's Dani Carvajal and Barcelona's Martin Montoya are ready to provide stiff competition to fill the slot on a regular basis over the next year.

The absence of Xabi Alonso was cause for debate too – double pivot or no double pivot? The Madrid midfielder's range of passing was certainly missed against Brazil and Italy, while the transition of replacing Xavi, or at least rotating him in anticipation of his ageing years, lingers like a dark cloud – he looked particularly tired and ineffective throughout the final.

And then there's the No 9 position for Del Bosque to ponder. Roberto Soldado and Fernando Torres haven't quite hit the right notes at the Confederations Cup and it's likely, if he had been fit, Cesc Fabregas would have been preferred as a false nine. Spain certainly seem to function better with the Barca midfielder in that role.

So while Brazil deservedly bask in the glory of their third straight Confederations Cup success, Spain may just well have been given the extra fuel they need ahead of 2014's World Cup. The players have their motivation and, if Del Bosque can tweak a couple of areas, the headlines which adorned Marca and AS on Monday morning could well prove right: Volveremos, we'll be back.