Brazil sends World Cup warning with 3-0 demolition of Spain
Brazil 'is back' says Neymar as Samba Boys end Spain's winning streak to take Confederations cup
Brazil 3 Spain 0. Two goals from Fred and a strike from Neymar (above) eased Brazil to a third consecutive Confederations Cup title in front of an ecstatic Maracana crowd.
It was a night to forget for Spain as the world champions saw their 29-match unbeaten record destroyed by the South Americans. Not only did Sergio Ramos miss a second-half penalty but Gerard Pique was shown a red card for scything down Neymar on 68 minutes. It was the first time Spain have lost a competitive match since a 1-0 defeat to Switzerland in their opening game of the 2010 World Cup.
"Brazil were the better team," admitted Spain manager Vicente Del Bosque, whose country has not beaten the Samba Boys in a competitive match since 1934. "We are not happy with this defeat. We have got to analyse it, we can't go and ignore it, but when we look at our track record we can be proud and on some days when the other team is stronger we will lose matches."
The result was a fillip for Brazil although the final was marred by ugly clashes between police and protestors, the latest battle in the country's ongoing civil unrest. According to the BBC, riot police fired tear gas as "several thousand people marched on Maracana stadium banging drums" and calling for the resignation of the Rio State governor. Their ire was also directed at football's governing body, with several protestors waving banners reading "Fifa – you pay the bill".
But if some Brazilians are unhappy at the cost of staging next year's World Cup, millions more will today be waking up relishing the prospect of hosting football's showpiece event. Speaking to the press after the victory, Neymar said the result would make their rivals sit up. "Brazil have shown the world that the Brazil national team is back," said the 21-year-old, who was voted the Confederations Cup player of the tournament. "We showed that we deserve respect with a great win over the world's best."
After Fred had opened the scoring for Brazil on two minutes, Neymar added a second on the stroke of half-time after a neat one-two with Oscar. His thunderous shot gave Iker Casillas no chance in the Spanish goal, and the Real Madrid keeper was soon picking the ball out of his net again after Fred made it 3-0 two minutes into the second-half.
"Nobody expected such an emphatic result, not against the world champions," exclaimed Brazil boss Luiz Felipe Scolari, aware that there had been more at stake in the Maracana than just a football match. "I also want to draw attention to the support the team had off the pitch. It's a message for the whole of Brazil. We have to get along and stick together to make sure things move forward."