The Selecao scored a comprehensive victory over the world champion, an ego-boosting 3-0 smothering of world champion Spain in the Confederations Cup final on Sunday night.
It was later discovered that Brazil is focusing on the really big prize: the World Cup that it hosts next year.
“We know that the tournament that we will be playing next year will be a lot more difficult,” Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said. “Now we have more confidence. That’s what we needed.”
In the stadium that will host the 2014 World Cup final next year, Fred put Brazil ahead in the second minute, Neymar twice increased the lead in the 44th with his fourth goal of the tournament and Fred added his fifth in the 47th.
While there a crowd of 73,000 was demonstrating its support for the national team in the renovated stadium, outside protesters clashed with riot police on the final night of the two-week prep tournament.
“Brazil has shown to the world that this is the Brazilian national team and that we must be respected,” said 21-year-old Neymar, awarded the Golden Ball as the tournament’s top player.
“I think that today we had a great victory against the best team of the world, with some of the best players in the world,” he added.
On Sunday night, the five-time world champion defeated the reigning world and European champion and ended Spain’s 29-game, three-year winning streak in competitive matches.
“We are happy with what we have done over the last few years,” Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque said. “But one loss — you have to look at it, but not overreact to it. We are not content with the loss. But when a team is superior, you have to accept it. It was a deserved defeat.”
Brazil won the third Confederations Cup and has not lost a competitive home match since 1975. Yet, no reigning Confed Cup winner has gone on to capture the following year’s World Cup.
“Spain, which had not lost a competitive game since its 2010 World Cup opener against Switzerland, had a miserable night. Sergio Ramos sent a penalty kick wide in the 55th and defender Gerard Pique was ejected by Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers with a straight red card for fouling Neymar in the 68th,” Fox News reports.
“The first minutes and the last minutes of the halves are critical,” Spanish defender Cesar Azpilicueta said. “And they scored their three goals at the beginning and ends of the halves, which is the worst time. Those are the most demoralizing moments.”
On the stadium a huge crowd of football fans enjoyed the match which was a heated one from the very start, with players from both teams pushing and shoving each other a few times. Even the substitutes got into a shouting match.
“We played a very good match,” Scolari said. “It allows us to have a better idea about the path ahead of us.”