Brazil cruises past Spain in Confed Cup final

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Updated: June 30, 2013

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Brazil claimed its third successive
Confederations Cup title on Sunday, cruising past Spain in a resounding 3-0
victory at the historic Maracana.

It took the Brazilians less than two minutes to get on the scoresheet as a
cross to the back post was not properly dealt with by the Spanish defense,
allowing Fred to pounce on the loose ball and sweep a shot past the sprawled-
out Iker Casillas.

Spain nearly equalized later in the opening period when Pedro fired a shot
underneath Julio Cesar, but David Luiz was tracking back to clear the shot off
the goal line with a sliding challenge.

Brazil doubled its advantage just before halftime when Neymar started and
finished a move in the 44th minute. The 21-year-old superstar centered a pass
to the top of the box and darted into the penalty area. He checked his run
when he did not immediately receive a return pass and hurried back onside,
finally collecting a through ball from Oscar before roofing a left-footed shot
into the upper corner.

Fred effectively sealed the win less than two minutes into the second half
when he latched on to Neymar’s “dummy” and slotted a low shot that beat
Casillas at the far post.

Spain had a chance for a consolation goal in the 55th minute when Marcelo
tripped up Jesus Navas in the box, but Sergio Ramos sent the ensuing attempt
from the spot wide of the post.

Things went from bad to worse for Spain when Gerard Pique was sent off in the
68th minute for denying Neymar a goal-scoring opportunity with a rash
challenge just outside the box.

With a three-goal lead and a one-man advantage, Brazil cruised the rest of the
way to win the Confederations Cup for the fourth time in the tournament’s
history.

Italy claimed third place in the competition thanks to a defeat of Uruguay on
penalty kicks Sunday.

Davide Astori opened the scoring for the Italians in the 24th minute only to
see his strike canceled out by Edinson Cavani in the 58th minute. Alessandro
Diamanti curled in a free kick in the 73rd minute to restore Italy’s lead, but
Cavani answered five minutes later with a free kick of his own to equalize for
Uruguay once more.

The match went to penalties following two scoreless periods of extra time, and
Gianluigi Buffon played a starring role, stopping efforts from Diego Forlan,
Martin Caceres and Walter Gargano to lead the Italians to a 3-2 edge.