Late strike rescues Brazil
Barcelona defender Daniel Alves spared Brazil's blushes as his late goal earned the five-time FIFA World Cup™ winners a 1-0 win over spirited South Africa to book their place in the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa final. This semi-final against the hosts was heading for extra time until Alves, in an inspired move by coach Dunga, replaced Andre Santos and broke the stalemate with a curling free-kick in the 88th minute.
Explaining his masterful move Dunga said: "We knew it was going to be difficult, we knew South Africa were going to attack, to defend and counter attack.
"The game was very tight, so I sent on an aggressive player [Alves] who is very quick and a specialist in set pieces. He practices set pieces every day," he said.
"We had to make use of any opportunity that came our way, so a foul in front of goal was perfect for us."
"It seemed as though it would be 0-0, but then Brazil had the set piece, relying on its experience placing three players in our wall to make it difficult for our keeper.
"We showed we were able to hold our own," he said. "Now we have another year to prepare for the [FIFA] World Cup."
South Africa were without suspended midfielder Macbeth Sibaya, his place taken by Siphiwe Tshabalala, while Brazil midfielder Luisao started for injured Juan. The two adversaries made it into the last four in wildly contrasting ways, with Brazil sauntering through as Group B leaders with maximum points and South Africa edging through on goal difference as Group A runners-up.
The holders were not at their brilliant best against a South African side that were scampering after every ball as if their lives depended on it. But with eight minutes left and as extra time loomed, Alves repaid Dunga's confidence when he beat the Bafana Bafana wall with a thundering free-kick two minutes from time.