Jun 30, 2013 Sports Comments Off on Fifa Confederations Cup final…Its Spain vs Brazil can the home team deliver
BBC Sport – Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari reported no injuries following victory against Uruguay and could name an unchanged side for today’s final.
Hulk has failed to score in his last nine international matches, meaning his starting spot could be under threat from Bernard or Lucas Moura. Spanish duo Roberto Soldado and Cesc Fabregas missed the semi-final against Italy because of minor muscle problems. However, both players are likely to be available against the Brazilians.
Spain were arguably fortunate to book their place in the Confederations Cup final, but few neutrals will complain ahead of today’s mouth-watering Maracana showpiece.
While Italy would have also been worthy opponents for the Selecao, the Azzurri have already met Brazil twice this year. Instead the tournament climax will be what many are calling the “dream final” – a surprisingly rare clash between Brazil and Spain.
It seems an anomaly that they have met just once in the last 23 years, in a 1999 friendly which ended goalless.
Since then Spain have taken on and beaten all-comers. Brazil are the last big scalp left for them to claim, just as the Confederations Cup is the only senior title to elude them.
Victory against the Brazilians, who have not lost a competitive home game since 1975, will cement their legacy as one of the greatest sides ever. It would also exorcise the memories of their 6-1 defeat at the Maracana 63 years ago, a result that extinguished Spain’s hopes of winning the 1950 World Cup and remains their heaviest ever defeat at the tournament.
In addition to home advantage, Brazil will benefit from an additional day of rest. Spain coach Vicente del Bosque admits the gruelling semi-final against Italy has left his camp drained.”Even I am exhausted and I have barely moved, so imagine how the players must feel,” he said.
However, Del Bosque has refused to criticise the tournament scheduling. “I’m not looking for excuses… We have 72 hours, others have a bit more, but we want to put on a good show.”
Spain have kept clean sheets in their last eight knock-out games at international tournaments, but expect goalkeeper Iker Casillas to be kept busy.
Brazil may not quite play the “Jogo Bonito” (beautiful game) purists demand, but with 22 goals in their last eight games they certainly possess firepower.
Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is pleased with his side’s Confederations Cup campaign, but insists they remain a work in progress.
“We achieved our goal of getting to the final and giving the players a sense of unity and the fans an idea that we have a good team that can get to the final of the World Cup,” Scolari said.
“This team has to face a lot of difficulties and grow, it needs to mature in certain situations. The [World Cup-winning] 2002 team was much more prepared…We are still young, we struggle a little when it’s a different game.”
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