Dream final: Host Brazil meets world champion Spain to decide Confederations Cup at Maracana

  • Article by: TALES AZZONI , AP Sports Writer
  • Updated: June 29, 2013 - 7:05 PM

RIO DE JANEIRO — The Confederations Cup has the final nearly everyone wanted: a long-awaited matchup between world champion Spain and host Brazil.

The most dominant national team in recent years and the most successful team ever in international play will meet Sunday at Maracana Stadium for the title of the eight-nation warmup tournament for next year's World Cup.

It will be the first meeting between the nations since 1999 and their first competitive match since Brazil's 1-0 win on Socrates' goal in the first round of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

"It's the match everyone wanted to happen," Brazilian striker Neymar said. "The entire world wanted it and everybody will be watching it."

Brazil, which has won the last two Confederation Cups, hopes a victory will help it regain status as a global power after recent struggles, while Spain wants to show that not even the five-time world champions can put a dent in its supremacy.

"Brazil is possibly the best team in the history of football, and to face them in this situation is something magnificent," Spanish midfielder Xavi Hernandez said. "It's a special final, a special night. We want to win it."

With more than 70,000 Brazilian fans expected to pack the iconic venue, the world and European champions will be put to a test by a reinvigorated Selecao led by 21-year-old Neymar and World Cup-winning coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.

"Spain is a spectacular team, but it has weak points just like any other team," Scolari said Saturday. "I don't think they are the favorites. We are capable of winning. This is our home, and we need to make them respect us."

Spain won the 2010 World Cup along with the 2008 and 2012 European Championships. La Furia Roja are unbeaten in a world record 29 competitive matches over three years since losing their 2010 World Cup opener to Switzerland, outscoring opponents 69-11 over that span.

"We are talking about a match against Brazil, the fathers of football, at the Maracana," Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque said. "We are happy to be having this opportunity, and we hope we are back here in 2014, too."

Brazil won its fifth World Cup title in 2002 but was eliminated in the quarterfinals in the last two World Cups and hasn't won a significant title since the 2009 Confederations Cup in South Africa.

"They are the current world champions. They have to be praised," Brazil captain Thiago Silva said. "But anything can happen in a final and I'm certain that Brazil will be fully prepared for the matchup."

Spain hasn't lost in 26 matches overall, since a 1-0 defeat against England at London in 2011. Brazil struggled after Scolari replaced Mano Menezes in November, winning only one of its first six matches. Scolari, who coached Brazil to the 2002 World Cup title, enters the final with a five-game winning streak.

"There is no doubt it will be an even match," Brazil right back Daniel Alves said. "There is mutual respect between these two national teams."

Brazil beat Japan, Mexico and Italy in the group stage before defeating South American champion Uruguay 2-1 in the semifinals. Spain defeated the Uruguayans in its opener, then routed Tahiti and beat Nigeria before getting past Italy on penalty kicks in the semifinals.

"It's the match everybody has been waiting for," said Brazil assistant coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, who led the national team to the 1994 world title. "We all know how good Spain is, but Brazil is going through a sensational moment and is full of confidence."

While the host hasn't played since Wednesday, Spain endured overtime and the shootout in the semifinal against Italy in the heat of Fortaleza on Thursday. Del Bosque has said Spain will not use fatigue as an excuse, and Scolari also downplayed the issue.

"They were able to rest all of their starters when they played Tahiti, so basically they had to play one game less than we did," Scolari said.

Both coaches will have all of their top players available for the match at the renovated Maracana.

Four players who will be in Sunday's final were nominated for the Golden Ball award handed to the best players at the Confederations Cup: Brazil's Neymar and Paulinho and Spain's Andres Iniesta and Sergio Ramos.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets 0 Top 2nd Inning
Washington 0
Baltimore 0 Bottom 1st Inning
NY Yankees 0
Kansas City 0 Top 2nd Inning
Cleveland 0
Seattle 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
Toronto 1
Chicago WSox 0 Top 2nd Inning
Detroit 0
Philadelphia 0 Top 2nd Inning
Miami 0
Pittsburgh 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Atlanta 0
Milwaukee 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Cincinnati 1
Tampa Bay 0 Top 2nd Inning
Boston 0
Houston - B. Oberholtzer 7:05 PM
Texas - N. Martinez
St. Louis - S. Miller 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks
Arizona - A. Chafin 7:10 PM
Minnesota - K. Gibson
LA Angels - W. LeBlanc 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
Colorado - J. De La Rosa 9:10 PM
San Diego - R. Erlin
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New England 9/29/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Carolina 0 1st Prd 7:01
Buffalo 0
Pittsburgh 0 1st Prd 4:07
Columbus 0
Boston 6:30 PM
Montreal
Nashville 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Toronto
Detroit 7:30 PM
Chicago
San Jose 8:00 PM
Vancouver
Arizona 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Vancouver 9:30 PM
San Jose
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Time left for great deals

Bid thru Sept. 29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which struggling team is in the worst shape?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close