INTERNATIONALS: BRAZILIANS TRIUMPH

Posted on: Mon 01 Jul 2013

Brazilians David Luiz and Oscar are Confederations Cup champions after a 3-0 win over a Spain side containing Juan Mata, Fernando Torres and Cesar Azpilicueta on Sunday night.

The hosts were marginal favourites going into the game at the Maracana having not lost on home soil in a competitive game since 1975. Spain, however, hadn't lost a competitive fixture themselves for a while, as European and world champions.

For Spain, Torres kept his place from the semi-final, while Mata was called into the starting line-up for the first time since they put 10 past Tahiti in the group stages. Oscar and David Luiz maintained their ever-present tags for Luiz Felipe Scolari's side, and it was they who would find the perfect start, and never look back.

Inside two minutes there was confusion in the Spanish defence, with both our Brazilians involved in the build-up, eventually allowing striker Fred to poke Brazil in front from a grounded position a couple of yards out.

After eight minutes it could have been even better for Chelsea's Brazilians, when the ball fell loose off Spain right-back Alvaro Arbeloa's heel. Fred delicately flicked it inside to Oscar, who rearranged his feet but could only shoot wide from 12 yards.

Paulinho's chip was saved by Iker Casillas shortly afterwards, and then Arbeloa was booked for a trip on Neymar with the forward seemingly in on goal. Spain were struggling to find their rhythm.

Oscar was yellow-carded for a kick on Andres Iniesta after 25 minutes, and was then fouled himself on the edge of the box by Sergio Ramos, just before he could get his shot away.

Five minutes before the break Mata did create for Spain, laying Pedro in and the Barcelona man beat QPR goalkeeper Julio Cesar, only for David Luiz to make it back and clear the ball off the line and over the bar. It was an example of both Chelsea players displaying their very best. From the resulting corner, Torres climbed highest, but his header fell onto the roof of the net, and it would not be long before they were rueing the missed chances.

Brazil worked it forward, Neymar fed Oscar and the Chelsea midfielder worked it back to him just inside the area before he unleashed an unstoppable rising drive into the net.

Two goals down at the break, Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque had to make changes, and did so at right-back with Azpilicueta introduced, taking the Chelsea count o the field to five.

Once again though, within two minutes, Brazil had scored. Once again it was Fred, slotting through the substitute's legs and into the bottom corner.

Spain were briefly given a lifeline when Marcelo fouled Jesus Navas, who had just replaced Mata, inside the area, but Sergio Ramos dragged his penalty wide.

Torres was replaced by David Villa shortly afterwards, but it would only get worse for Spain when Gerard Pique was dismissed for a foul on Neymar, effectively ending the game as a contest.

It means Brazil have won this competition three times in a row having lifted it in 2005 and 2009, and after their hugely impressive display, World Cup odds for 2014 will have been slashed. For Spain, and Torres in particular, one consolation will be the striker's Golden Boot, achieved thanks to his five goals, scored in fewer games than Fred, who also scored five in the competition.

The five Chelsea players will now enjoy a holiday before linking up with their clubmates later this month.