Brazil beat arch-rivals Uruguay 2-1 today and will meet the winners of tomorrow’s Spain v Italy match in the Confederations Cup Final on Sunday. Whoever Brazil meet, they will have to play a lot better than they did today if they hope to win.
Uruguay had a great opportunity to go ahead in the 13th minute when avid Luiz wrestled Diego Lugano to the ground on a corner, but Diego Forlan’s penalty was well saved by Julio Cesar.
The first half had no flow to it, as both sides engaged in petty fouls that caused the game to continually stop and start. But right on half-time a little bit of Brazilian class put Brazil ahead.
A terrific ball over the top of the Uruguay defence by Paulinho freed Neymar, and his deflected shot fell to Fred who bundled the ball home.
It took Uruguay three minutes of the second half to draw level. And it was schoolboy defending from the Brazilians as they repeatedly failed to clear the ball and when Thiago Silva’s weak pass fell to Edinson Cavani he made no mistake with an angled drive.
The second half was more of the same, with neither team’s midfield able to get a foothold in the match. Neymar, who had been voted man of the match in Brazil’s three previous matches, main contribution in the second half was to throw himself on the ground in the hope of drawing a free kick.
As the clock ticked closer to the 90 minute man, Uruguay started to play a little deeper, content with going to extra time. That mistake allowed Brazil room in the middle of the park that they had not had previously and the Samba Boys made them pay when Neymar’s corner was headed home by Paulinho in the 86th minute.
It will be interesting to see what changes Luiz Felipe Scolari makes for Sunday’s final. Hulk was disappointing today, so will he give Lucas Moura a start and hope to attack, in all likelihood Spain, via the flanks?
And how will Neyamar play against his soon to be teammates? Will he continue to throw himself to the ground every time an opponent comes near him, as I cannot see that approach impressing Xavi and Iniesta.