- Do Manchester City really have a “UCL curse”
- LA Galaxy V New England Revolution final likely
- MOTD: Arsenal 1-2 Manchester United
- Talking Tactics: Is the art of the corner overlooked?
- 4 things to watch for as the Premier League returns
- Sturridge’s injury a cause for worry and opportunity
- MOTD: Argentina 0-1 Portugal
- Spotlight on Cyprus: One key beneficiary of the new Euro format
- MOTD: England 3-1 Slovenia
- MOTD: USA 1-2 Colombia
MOTD- Brazil 3-0 Spain
Spain, for the first time since 2010, have lost. Brazil thrashed La Roja to win the Confederations Cup, pounding the World champions 3-0 at a noisy Maracana stadiumi. Coming out with the perfect strategy, the hosts of the tournament put high pressure on Vincent del Bosque’ side to constrict them from playing their tiki-taka style football.
Although most Selecao fans were hoping for a win, nobody could have predicted the falter that Spain took. From the moment of the starting whistle, Brazil pressured the ball and began to attack at a high tempo. Still, nobody expected Brazil to grab the lead inside two minutes when a Hulk cross from the left to the back post was missed by both Fred and Gerard Pique. The wriggled it’s way to Neymar, and after the ball bounced off his and Jordi Alba’s legs, it bounced down to Fred, who chipped it above a diving Iker Casillas while on the ground. Riding on the back of their momentum, Brazil almost added to their lead in the eight minute when Fred flicked it back to Oscar, who sent a powerful low shot just wide of the post from twelve yards.
Paulinho then attempted to chip Casillas from the edge of the box after winning the ball in the Spain half, as Brazil continued to keep their high line. Neymar threaded it through to Fred on the counter-attack, but Brazil’s in-form center forward had his shot brilliantly blocked by Casillas after letting it run across his body. Spain tried to impose their tiki-taka style on the game, but Brazil kept closing them down. Still, La Roja should have had an equalizer in the fortieth minute when Juan Mata played Pedro clear through on goal down the right. The Barcelona winger curled it around Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar from fifteen yards, but somehow had his shot tackled over the bar from a goal-line clearance by David Luiz.
It seemed like everything was going right for Luiz Scolari’s side, and they stunningly doubled their lead right before the end of the half. Oscar played Neymar through on goal down the left side of the box, and the Barca-bound forward slammed a shot into the roof of the net from eight yards.
Seemingly not tiring, Brazil managed to keep up their pressure, and found a third, yes third goal two minutes into the second half. Neymar flicked it to Fred, who curled it around Casillas into the bottom corner of the net in an almost passing fashion from the left side of the box. Only three minutes later Spain were given a way back into the game, with Marcelo clearly tripping substitute Jesus Navas inside the Brazil box. But Spain’s nightmare only worsened, as Sergio Ramos screwed the spot-kick wide of the post.
Brazil walked sometimes as they kept possession and the lead, and were given even more reason to believe the game was all but over in the sixty-eight minute. Neymar was slipped in on goal and tried to round Pique, who stuck a leg out to trip the speedster with no intention of winning the ball. Despite the furious protests of the Spain players, referee Bjorn Kuipers correctly showed Pique the straight red card, before Neymar curled the resulting free-kick from the edge of the box just over the bar.
Spain found some extra energy to muster some small attacks near the end, but couldn’t beat Cesar, who was playing the game of his life. First, the Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper brilliantly tipped Pedro’s diagonal shot across goal from the left just wide of the post, before making an acrobatic save to push David Villa’s curling shot to the top corner wide. Victory was inches away from Brazil, and with the final whistle they won their third consecutive Confederations Cup to the joy of the fans at the Maracana.
Man of the match: Fred