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A Cut above the best

Fred scores twice,Neymar once as Brazil thrash world champions Spain 3-0 to win Confeds Cup

By: -- Select any-- Written by Associated Press | Rio De Janeiro | Published on:July 2, 2013 2:20 am

Fred scored two goals and Neymar added another as host Brazil convincingly defeated champion Spain 3-0 to win the Confederations Cup on Sunday as protesters clashed with riot police outside the Maracana Stadium.

Fred put Brazil on the board less than two minutes into the match,Neymar added to the lead just before halftime and Fred netted his fifth goal in five matches early in the second half to give Brazil victory. The win for the host nation was surprisingly easy against the current world champion. Sergio Ramos missed a penalty kick for Spain in the 55th,sending his low shot wide. Spain defender Gerard Pique was sent off with a straight red card for fouling Neymar in the 68th.

Brazil came in hoping a victory would help it regain its status as a global powerhouse after recent struggles. Brazil was eliminated in the quarterfinals in the last two World Cups and hadn’t won a significant title since the 2009 Confederations Cup in South Africa. The title gives Brazilian fans hope that the five-time world champions have a chance to win the World Cup title next year,although no Confederations Cup champion has ever won football’s showcase event the following year. It also didn’t take long before the fans — in a sea of yellow jerseys — started teasing the Spaniards,chanting “Wanna play,wanna play!? Brazil will teach you.’’

The Brazilian players huddled after the final whistle and started singing and jumping,then went toward the crowd near the sidelines and began celebrating. The result ended Spain’s 26-match unbeaten streak. It hadn’t lost since a 1-0 result England in a friendly in London in 2011. Its last loss in an official competition had happened 29 matches ago,in the 2010 World Cup opener against Switzerland.

Spain badly wanted a victory against the five-time world champion,which was one of the few top teams it hadn’t faced since it began dominating international football. Spain won the 2010 World Cup along with the 2008 and 2012 European Championships.

first in a while

IT was the first time the two nations had met since a scoreless friendly in 1999. The last competitive match between the teams had been Brazil’s 1-0 win in the first round of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. Brazil scored early on Sunday and kept pressuring,but it didn’t take long for Spain to start taking control of the match. The Europeans were not able to create many dangerous opportunities,though,while Brazil kept threatening via counterattacks.

Fred opened the scoring after a cross into the area by Hulk in the second minute. The ball bounced off Neymar near the far post and Fred,who had fallen while trying to reach for the cross,fired it in with his right foot while still on the ground. Brazil added to the lead with Neymar’s fourth goal in five matches after an exchange of passes with Oscar in the 44th. The newly signed Barcelona striker,touted as the future of Brazilian football,fired a powerful left-footed shot into the top of the net.

Neymar was voted the …continued »

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