It is the final all Brazil were dreaming of, and thanks to A Seleção and, of course, Spain, it will shortly come to pass. On 30 June, the ninth final in FIFA Confederations Cup history will pit the tournament hosts against the reigning world and European champions. It is the perfect ending for the dream setting that is the newly refurbished Estadio Maracana, and FIFA.com is on hand to preview the action.
By any measure, the FIFA Confederations Cup has been a good tournament for Brazil in recent times. Indeed A Canarinho have not tasted defeat at the event since 2005, when they went down 1-0 to Mexico. Despite all the ups and downs of recent months, the hosts have found their form as if by magic during the course of this Festival of Champions. Now they are gearing up for their fifth final in this competition and their third in a row, so expect them to leave no stone unturned in their quest for glory in front of their adoring fans. For the deciding game, coach Felipe Scolari has a full complement of players available, and his side have had a day’s more rest than Spain, who needed penalties to see off semi-final opponents Italy. Will the home side make that advantage count?
“That’s the way the games were scheduled. I don’t want to hear excuses of any kind,” his opposite number Vincente del Bosque said on the issue. The Spanish coach also has everyone available in spite of their exertions during extra-time and penalties in their semi. Yet the world champions will not be relying on physical stamina alone; their desire for victory and the chance to lay their hands the only major trophy to have still eluded them will surely spur them on. Once more they are expected to go with their tried and tested 4-3-3 and trademark tiki-taka passing game. It is a formula that has seen them win everything since 2008 – everything that is except the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup…
63 – The number of years that have passed since Spain last faced Brazil at the Maracana. On that occasion A Seleção routed the Iberians 6-1, a defeat that is still the second most emphatic ever inflicted on La Roja. The last meeting between the sides was a friendly played 14 years ago that ended 0-0.
"I was really looking forward to a final against Spain, and I don’t think I am the only one. We have the chance to test ourselves against the best team in the world and the defending world champions. We feel a mixture of respect and admiration for our opponents, but we need to impose ourselves and play our game,” Brazil striker Neymar.
"We’re going to face up to them. We have to put on a show and make it a good advertisement for football. Brazil have won five World Cups and three Confederations Cups and they’ll be playing at the Maracana in front of their own fans. For us it’s a dream game. Come Sunday, a new chapter will begin. We’ll start all-square and see who seizes the initiative,” Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque.