In what was by far its best, most dominating and inspiring performance in the Luiz Felipe Scolari era, Brazil beat Spain 3-0 to claim the FIFA Confederations Cup on home soil.
Brazil came into the game having an extra day of rest and not having played an extra time or a penalty shootout unlike Spain, who came into the match at a conditioning disadvantage. Brazil made sure to take advantage of this as it pressured and pressed the Spanish defense early on and were rewarded.
Fred opened the scoring by kicking in a loose ball from a cross which was misplayed by the Spanish defense. The goal was typical of those scored by him in this tournament, the reward for always being on alert and ready to clean up like a classic poacher.
Throughout the first half, Brazil followed the blueprint which was employed by Italy, who lost to Spain in the semifinals. The Italians pressed Spain high up in the field, and cut off the attacking effectiveness and creativity that Spain’s tiki-taka possession style is renowned for. In addition, Brazil were able to prevent Andres Iniesta and Xavi from having touches far away from danger zones, making them ineffective in their play.
Brazil had several chances to make it 2-0, but were let down by poor finishing from Oscar and Fred. Spain had a glimmer of hope in finding its way back into the game with a shot from Pedro beating goalkeeper Julio Cesar the 40th minute, but David Luiz tracked back and cleared the ball off the line.
Soon after that, Brazil continued to show off some jogo bonito as Neymar made it 2-0 before the half, and Fred made it 3-0 two minutes into the start of the second half in what was a very dominating performance.
For Spain, the loss represents the end of their nearly 30-game unbeaten streak, and also the realization that despite it being still a very good team, there are a few areas of concern. First and foremost, it will need to better adapt at teams pressing them higher up the field, especially against quality teams.
The second area of concern will be whether or not a player like Alvaro Arbeloa and Gerard Pique should start against teams with forwards to can easily get behind them.
For Brazil, this win represents much going into next summer’s World Cup as it serves as a crucial and fundamental building block in regaining their self-belief. and getting the home country’s fans to believe that this team is one they can support.
Also, this tournament made it be known that Neymar is the real deal and that he can only get better, which is a scary proposition for everyone.