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Brazil wins Confed Cup with flair and efficiency

Brazil wins Confed Cup with flair and efficiency

Brazil found just enough of its famous flair at the Confederations Cup to secure the title and re-establish itself as a favorite for next year's World Cup.
Brazil mixed impressive performances with disappointing displays in the eight-team competition being used as a World Cup warmup, but managed to find ways to win even when it struggled and leaves South Africa with its third Confederations Cup trophy in hand.
The numbers show that Brazil more than deserved the title. It won all of its five matches and finished with the competition's best attack with 14 goals, an average of nearly three per match.
Striker Luis Fabiano scored twice in the 3-2 win against the United States in the final, finishing as the tournament's top scorer with five goals. Kaka was named the competition's most valuable player, and Brazil also won the fair play trophy for fewest cards.
"This group of players is committed," Brazil coach Dunga said. "They work hard and never give up. We knew they were capable of winning this tournament and we know they can do even more."
The title reaffirms Brazil as a top title contender for the 2010 World Cup, which also will be played in South Africa. After revamping the national team following the 2006 World Cup, there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding Dunga's squad, and many critics said he would not be able to lead Brazil to a sixth world title.
But Brazil is an indisputable favorite now, and Dunga's main concern is to avoid the same mistakes from four years ago, when Brazil followed its 2005 Confederations Cup title with disappointment at the World Cup, being eliminated by France in the quarterfinals.
"We have to deal with this favorites status now," he said. "We need to learn from the mistakes from the past. We just have to keep working, just like we have been doing so far."
Brazil showed some weaknesses during the two-week Confederations Cup, and the 3-2 win in the final against the United States on Sunday was a good example of how the tournament unfolded for the five-time world champions.
Showing defensive mistakes and a lack of creativity up front, Brazil lost the first half 2-0 at Ellis Park Stadium. It picked up the pace in the second, however, displaying its fluid style to outplay the Americans and rally to victory.
It was up and down from the start.
Brazil began the tournament with a sloppy 4-3 win over Egypt in Bloemfontein, escaping with victory only after a last-minute penalty kick converted by Kaka. The team scored three goals from set pieces and failed to impress in attack. It hadn't conceded three goals in a single match in four years.
The players complained of exhaustion because of long trips, tough World Cup qualifiers and the five-hour time difference between Brazil and South Africa.
But Brazil improved in the second match, earning a comfortable 3-0 victory against the United States in Pretoria. Brazil played better on both sides of the field, keeping the Americans from pressuring and making dangerous runs up front.
It was against Italy that Brazil impressed the most, however, outplaying the world champions from the start. The Brazilians scored three goals in an eight-minute span just before halftime, than held off the Italians in the second half to secure a berth in the semifinal. The result eliminated Italy from the competition.
Brazil struggled against a South Africa team that played aggressive defense and marked extremely well, earning a berth in the final thanks to an 88th-minute free-kick goal by substitute right back Daniel Alves.
The team lacked creativity in attack and wasn't able to break through the crowded South African midfield. The hosts had some of the most dangerous scoring chances and were in position to eliminate the defending champions.
They didn't, however, and Brazil went on to become only the second team to win consecutive titles, along with France.
Nine Brazilians were in the 2005 team which won the title in Germany _ Maicon, Lucio, Robinho, Kaka, Juan, Luisao, Gilberto Silva, Julio Baptista and Gomes. Kaka, Robinho, Maicon and Lucio started in the 2005 final in which Brazil beat Argentina 4-1.
Brazil will play a friendly against Estonia in August before turning its focus to World Cup qualifiers against Argentina and Chile in September. Brazil leads the South American group and is virtually guaranteed in next year's tournament.
Brazil has won eight straight matches and is unbeaten in 16.


Updated : 2021-05-10 08:05 GMT+08:00