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.
Nov 25, 2014, 11:15 PM EST
There were a lot of fouls in the first leg of Los Angeles and Seattle’s Western Conference final, and some were quite serious.
Nov 25, 2014, 10:45 PM EST
Like many fun to watch goals, the magic of the shooter is magnified by the mistakes of the defenders.
Nov 25, 2014, 10:00 PM EST
“I think they have to accept we were too strong for them,” added Mourinho.
Nov 25, 2014, 9:16 PM EST
We’ll be following who else comes calling for the Princeton man.
Manchester United assistant Ryan Giggs thinks Chelsea’s the top dog, compares Louis van Gaal to Alex Ferguson
Nov 25, 2014, 8:05 PM EST
Giggs calls the Stamford Bridge club “head and shoulders above the Premier League” on the strength of their back four.
Nov 25, 2014, 7:13 PM EST
These will be hot in the summer. But are they hot now? What do you think?
Nov 25, 2014, 6:51 PM EST
Eleven players had their options declined on Tuesday, but Colorado says they could be back with the club in January.
Nov 25, 2014, 6:03 PM EST
Recapping all the action from around Europe after a pivotal matchday in UCL play.
Nov 25, 2014, 5:55 PM EST
Berahino scored in the next match after his arrest, but has since gone cold.
Nov 25, 2014, 5:32 PM EST
Rogers talked about how working with gay and lesbian youth organizations made him realize the impact he could make as an openly-gay player.
Nov 25, 2014, 5:22 PM EST
City’s late show sets up pulsating clash in the Italian capital next month.
Nov 25, 2014, 4:46 PM EST
Citizens grab last-gasp win to boost their chances of making the last 16.
Nov 25, 2014, 4:33 PM EST
Five different players netted as Chelsea picked up its largest road Champions League win since 1999.
Nov 25, 2014, 4:10 PM EST
Suarez is off and running for Barca with a goal of exceptional class. What else did you expect?
Nov 25, 2014, 3:46 PM EST
The only other active players in the Top Ten are Chelsea’s Didier Drogba (44) and Thierry Henry (50), who obviously isn’t active with a UEFA Champions League club.
Nov 25, 2014, 3:10 PM EST
With top-quality players hardly ever available in January, the Portguese international could be a hot commodity in England.
Nov 25, 2014, 2:33 PM EST
A urinary infection has Pele in the hospital just 10 days after being released following surgery.
Nov 25, 2014, 1:55 PM EST
Follow the latest batch of UEFA Champions League matches, right here.
Nov 25, 2014, 1:05 PM EST
To be completed in two phases,
Nov 25, 2014, 12:11 PM EST
“Air Marshall” not only earned his nickname, but helped to solidify an otherwise shaky back line.
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