Brazil Wins Confederations Cup 2013
It was Spain's biggest loss in a competitive match in 18 years, and it came at a pretty inopportune time. Brazil's 3-0 victory over the defending world and European champions gave the tournament host its third consecutive Confeds Cup title, paced by brilliant outings from Fred and Neymar.
The hyped championship game could be a preview of next year's World Cup, also in Brazil. Something had to give in this one though, with Brazil's fast-paced aggression clashing with Spain's slow, meticulous playing style. Fred's second-minute goal immediately indicated which would prevail.
Fred netted the goal from the ground, brilliantly lifting a broken-up cross from his back past Spanish keeper Iker Casillas. The home crowd was whipped into a frenzy, and Spain was already under pressure. That pressure didn't relent, as Brazil's Neymar banged a laser past Casillas for the game's second score at 44'. Fred returned for his second score of the day just two minutes after halftime, giving Brazil all the momentum in three wild minutes of regulation.
Spain had a chance to mount a comeback in the second half, but Sergio Ramos whiffed on a penalty kick that went right of Brazil's Julio Cesar. Spain's Gerard Pique was later handed a red card after sending new Barcelona teammate Neymar to the ground.
Opportunities were few and far between in the match's closing minutes, and a tournament shrouded in civil controversy ended with the home country hoisting the trophy. The Maracana rejoiced, hoping that a similar scene will take place a year from now at the 2014 World Cup.
Earlier in the day, Italy claimed bronze with a thrilling 3-2 win over Uruguay that went to PKs.