The final of the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup will shortly be upon us, as hosts Brazil play in front of their home fans against European and World Champions, Spain. These two teams have by far stood out as the top 2 teams of the tournament and are deservedly in the final, after both exciting semi-finals.
Brazil qualified for the final after a 2-1 triumph over Uruguay in a South American derby in the semi-final. This was after wins over Mexico, Japan and Italy in the group stage. Vincente del Bosque’s Spanish side strolled to wins over Uruguay, Tahiti and Nigeria before winning a hard fought semi-final 7-6 on penalties against Italy.
Both teams featuring in the final are teams with many stars on show and the match could prove to be an enthralling encounter, with Brazil finding the rhythm an style that led them to three World Cup finals (and two wins) between 1994 and 2002. The Brazilian squad provides undeniable talent with incredible skill and never seem to have a lackluster performance. This was evident in their 2-1 victory over South American rivals Uruguay, with Tottenham target Paulinho scoring a dramatic winner with under 5 minutes to go. However they are facing a strong Spanish side who are much more experienced at the highest level and in pressurizing situations.
The Spanish team has developed individually and collectively through the youth teams and the players have been tested during three consecutive and major international tournaments, coming through all of them undefeated. This was easy to see during their tiring semi-final against Italy, where the Azzuri managed to prevent them from breaking the deadlock for 120 minutes. Each side scored all of their first 6 spot kicks before Leonardo Bonucci missed his and Manchester City’s new signing Jesus Navas converted his to give Spain a 7-6 victory.
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): W W W W W
- Last Match: Brazil 2 – 1 Uruguay
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): D W W W W
- Last Match: Spain 0 – 0 Italy
Scolari has no injury worries and is likely to name an unchanged squad for the final. Fred will be the lone striker, with Neymar and Hulk providing support from the wings. Paulinho could well be the key once again, playing in from deep to pull Spain’s centre-backs out of position.
Spain have a full strength squad too, after Barcelona’s Cesc Fabregas and Valencia’s Roberto Soldado were fit for training. The champions may make a few changes though, after the physically draining semi-final against Italy. Fortunately, they have an incredibly strong bench and a slight rotation will probably not affect them too much.
Expect Casillas to retain his place in goal, with an unchanged back four. Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets are also favourites to start, which means the changes could come up front. David Silva started against Italy but was taken off after 53 minutes. Semi-final hero Navas could start in his place, to add speed from the outset, with Juan Mata an option as well. Torres is likely to lead the attack.