Once again the Confederations Cup pass us by, with Brazil ending up with the trophy. Does it mean anything for the World Cup? Probably not, but it most likely sets Brazil as the favorites to win the tournament, and also positions Neymar perfectly to have a big debut season in Europe, showing just how talented and ready he really is.
It’s not like Spain didn’t create chances. Pedro found himself quite often testing Julio Cesar from inside the box, while Sergio Ramos missed a penalty kick and had a few more misses, along with Andres Iniesta, from comfortable positions. David Luiz made an incredible goal line save.
But this match was mostly about Brazil showing how much playing at home is going to mean in a year from now, especially against a team like Spain. There have been 7 World Cup held in the Americas – all of them won by South American teams. Brazil grew as a team during this tournament, as Scolari found the first XI that should be the one he’ll be banking on in a year from now, and he also has himself a star ready to shine on the biggest of stages.
Fred finished with more goals, including a brace in the final, but Neymar was right behind him with four goals, and being such a disturbing presence to the Spanish defense all through the match, resulting in a red card for Gerard Pique and another yellow card to Alvaro Arbeloa, and that’s before we even mention his fantastic goal.
He’ll probably be less busy doing his tricks and dribbles in Spain, and will sometimes struggle with an upgraded level of physicality towards him, but he has the speed, the talent and the power to shine in Europe as well. His goal that put Brazil 2-0 up is something not a lot of players can do – using his weaker foot to send a shot while not even fully facing the goal, catching Iker Casillas completely by surprise. We’ve seen prettier goals in this tournament, even from Neymar, but few of higher technical skill.
Should Spain be worried? A little, but not that much. Bad days happen, as they did four years ago when the United States beat Spain in the semifinal of the tournament. It’s better to show your weaknesses in the Confederations Cup than in Brazil 12 months later. Fernando Torres, most likely, won’t be in the lineup the next time these two teams meet with a title on the line.