Jun 30, 2013, 12:14 PM EDT
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.
Jun 29, 2015, 11:25 PM EDT
A huge blow for Mexico as an injury will keep Mexico’s best defender off their Gold Cup squad.
Jun 29, 2015, 10:26 PM EDT
Ronaldinho is on the move again, and (thankfully) he’s not coming to MLS.
Jun 29, 2015, 9:23 PM EDT
Chile will play for their first Copa America title on Saturday. A chance to make history at home.
Jun 29, 2015, 8:31 PM EDT
Guus Hiddink is out as Dutch national team manager after less than a year in charge. Who do they turn to now, ahead of EURO 2016?
Jun 29, 2015, 7:04 PM EDT
It’s No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the world, but it’s only a semifinal.
Jun 29, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT
By the end of tonight, either Chile or Peru will have booked their place in the final.
Jun 29, 2015, 5:10 PM EDT
A goal and an assist — finally a dominant performance — in the weekend’s biggest rivalry game earns Darlington Nagbe POTW honors.
Jun 29, 2015, 4:27 PM EDT
“Rivalry Week” is in the books, and a number of derby day conquerors find themselves on the last MLS Team of the Week.
Jun 29, 2015, 3:21 PM EDT
Rog talks with the USWNT’s Meghan Klingenberg about the team’s lockdown defense, her karate training, and living with Jeff Van Gundy’s family.
Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup fifth round preview: Cosmos look to do MLS’ N.Y. double, Charlotte hits Chicago
Jun 29, 2015, 3:07 PM EDT
Here’s what’s on tap for Tuesday and Wednesday as the USSF tournament stays regional.
Jun 29, 2015, 2:23 PM EDT
Toronto FC and L.A. will kick off at 10:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. The Galaxy have won two of their last three matches.
Jun 29, 2015, 1:40 PM EDT
You think gossip’s going to take a Monday off? Pssh, please.
Jun 29, 2015, 12:52 PM EDT
Guangzhou Evergrande have added a big name to their title charge in the Chinese Super League.
Jun 29, 2015, 11:39 AM EDT
Many if not all neutral fans expect Argentina and Chile to make it through their Copa America semifinals en route to a border battle final.
Jun 29, 2015, 10:45 AM EDT
That picture is weird, but we’ll get used to it once the Premier League season begins in August.
Jun 29, 2015, 10:06 AM EDT
Less talking, more ranking. Feel free to debate in the comments section.
Jun 29, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT
FIFA’s weather-related move of the 2022 World Cup from to November-December has its first legal challenge.
Jun 29, 2015, 7:57 AM EDT
Could women’s football in England be en route to a Brandi Chastain moment of their own?
Jun 28, 2015, 11:37 PM EDT
Some vacationing footballers enjoying a bit of head-tennis
Jun 28, 2015, 9:54 PM EDT
Final: Timbers 4-1 Sounders
- Foot injury forces DF Hector Moreno to withdraw from Mexico’s 2015 Gold Cup squad 0
- Chile 2-1 Peru: Vargas’ wondergoal puts the hosts through to Copa America final (video) 0
- Men in Blazers podcast special: USWNT’s Klingenberg talks defense, Germany, karate 1
- It’s official: Petr Cech has swapped London clubs, Chelsea to Arsenal 4
- Spanish football league becomes first to take legal action over Qatar World Cup dates 3
- England’s case of World Cup fever just what the doctor ordered for women’s soccer in Britain 3