Jun 30, 2013, 12:14 PM EST
It may be just a warmup to the World Cup, but with silverware on the line things always heat up. Hot it will be at 6pm ET when Brazil take on Spain in the final of the Confederations Cup.
Brazil will look to take a few steps forward in front of their home crowd in preparation for the World Cup, and manager Luiz Felipe Scolari knows the home field advantage inside the Maracana will be important.
So much so, that Scolari has called upon his team to use their “soul” to “overcome, equalize and pass ahead of all of it [Spain] have.”
“They have had continuity in their team in the last six years, only changing just one or two players every now and then” said Scolari. “So they have some advantages over us, but we have something that is important inside Brazil and that is to get the credibility back with all our supporters.”
For Brazil, this match is about the beginning of redemption. Their manager chose his words well when he said the team is looking to regain credibility. Having fallen well short of expectations in two consecutive World Cups, the Seleção can regain the confidence of their fans with a win against the world’s highest-ranked country.
The Brazilians know it’s no World Cup, but with one on the way in their backyard, a win in this final could provide the keystone to reconstructing the bridge to World glory.
Neymar will be looking to get back on the score sheet, having netted in all three group matches but failed to find a score in the semifinal win over Uruguay. Brazil weren’t at their best in that match, but the build-up play was just enough. They’ll need him, as the Spaniards have conceded just a single goal so far in the tournament.
For Spain, this match is all about pride. They don’t need the silverware, they don’t need the media attention, and they certainly don’t need the praise.
What they don’t need is a loss.
While defeat wouldn’t really hurt them that much, a win would maintain the status quo, while a loss would break it down a bit. They came close in their semifinal with Italy, absorbing much pressure until deciding to rev the engine in extra time. They advanced on penalties, but it wasn’t pretty.
In addition, Italy taking Spain to extra time and penalties gives an immediate advantage to Brazil. The hosts already had a day of extra rest before the big game, and now they’ve played 30 fewer minutes and had to endure 1 less nerve-wracking penalty shootout. If Spain show any signs of weakness, this will be the first excuse fans will point towards.
For Spain, Xavi is injured, and reports are that Javi Martinez could come in to replace him. Cesc Fabregas is also reportedly coming into the lineup for Fernando Torres in a false 9 position that quite possibly won them the World Cup three years ago.
With Vincente del Bosque possibly busting out the false 9, it means Spain are certainly not taking this match lightly and are also looking to get into a full-effort mentality.
I think Neymar was right in saying “It’s the match everyone wanted to happen.” With Brazil 2014 just a year away, things are getting serious, and that in turn makes them a whole lot of fun.
Dec 12, 2013, 7:09 PM EST
The Dash join the Portland Thorns as MLS-backed teams in women’s league.
Dec 12, 2013, 6:17 PM EST
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Dec 12, 2013, 5:31 PM EST
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Dec 12, 2013, 4:38 PM EST
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Dec 12, 2013, 3:38 PM EST
We saw this coming. Portland traded up on Thursday to snare the former Zip.
Early approval: Klinsmann extends contract, will serve as U.S. head coach, technical director through 2018
Dec 12, 2013, 3:01 PM EST
Klinsmann’s signed up for another cycle, the U.S. hoping to extend its evolution beyond Brazil.
Dec 12, 2013, 2:01 PM EST
This marks the first time a Bundesliga club has played in the league’s summer showcase.
Dec 12, 2013, 1:05 PM EST
Two big questions this weekend: 1) Can Spurs stop Luis Suarez? and
2) Does City’s midfield rival that of Arsenal?
Dec 12, 2013, 10:26 AM EST
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, Young says, but “for me, the referees have made decisions and that’s it.”
Dec 12, 2013, 9:15 AM EST
Would Moyes really loan Zaha to a competitor like Everton or Newcastle?
Dec 12, 2013, 8:01 AM EST
When looking back at the biggest UK Twitter “surges” of 2013 there is one topic that dominates the landscape: footy.
Dec 11, 2013, 11:46 PM EST
You can’t been drawn against a team from your own federation – a rule that will hurt Arsenal, Manchester City on Monday.
Dec 11, 2013, 10:24 PM EST
The defenses need to get better in both places. A lot better:
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Dec 11, 2013, 9:23 PM EST
A little social media brush fire over the new Miami expansion outfit was promptly, mercifully extinguished:
Dec 11, 2013, 8:33 PM EST
Highlights from all Wednesday’s games, which saw Barça’s newest start break out, Italy’s reigning champions eliminated.
Dec 11, 2013, 7:46 PM EST
Once you narrow the list to 15 or so, it’s nearly impossible to decide from there:
Dec 11, 2013, 6:59 PM EST
That assumes, of course, that the former U.S. manager was ever a serious candidate:
Dec 11, 2013, 6:11 PM EST
Tough draws await Arsenal, Manchester City in the knockout round.
Dec 11, 2013, 5:31 PM EST
Demba Ba’s 10th minute goal was enough to give Chelsea Group E.
Dec 11, 2013, 4:47 PM EST
Brazilian star’s hat trick helps Barcelona rout Celtic, claim first in Group H.
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