Brazil's comeback kings were crowned, while Spain edged the first of the day's fascinating five-goal thrillers in Rustenburg to claim bronze. As the world reflects on a memorable and historic South African spectacular, FIFA.com looks at the statistical stories behind an enthralling final day.
Possession. Efforts on goal. Who needs them? Not USA. For a time at least, it seemed that the Americans would continue to make a mockery of such statistics by winning a tournament in which they have consistently come off second best in such indicators. The unlikely US success story at South Africa 2009, which so nearly became a fairy tale, was based throughout on prudent use of scarce resources. While Castrol Performance Analysts found that teams average one goal every six chances, Bob Bradley's side established their two-goal lead in the final by taking 50 per cent of their four first-half opportunities.
Ultimately, however, justice was done in Johannesburg. Brazil, who registered a remarkable 25 shots on goal compared to their opponents' eight, continued their record of scoring at least three goals in each of their four FIFA Confederations Cup finals to date with a stirring second-half comeback. They also succeeded in rewriting another record. Previously at FIFA finals, Brazil had found themselves 2-0 behind at half-time on eight occasions; never before tonight had they managed to claw back such a deficit. Dunga claimed a little piece of history, too, becoming the first man to win the FIFA Confederations Cup as both player and coach.
For Spain, claiming third place will not prevent their South Africa 2009 story being remembered as a tale of promise unfulfilled. However, La Roja did at least cement their status as the tournament's top passers. The European champions played more passes (2,619) than any of their fellow participants, and there was quality to match the quantity, with their 81.11 completion rate unrivalled across the competition.
Luis Fabiano came into this tournament vowing to score in every match. He didn't quite manage that, but the Sevilla striker's match-saving double this evening saw him achieve the next-best thing: an average of a goal a game. As well as securing the fourth adidas Golden Shoe for a Brazilian, following Romario (1997), Ronaldinho (1999) and Adriano (2005), the brace raised O Fabuloso's international scoring average to 0.71 goals per game and took him ever closer to Romario's final ratio of 0.79.
Earlier, the third-place match in Rustenburg turned into a tale of two substitutes. In scoring a brace apiece, Daniel Guiza and Katlego Mphela made history: never before at any senior FIFA men's tournament had this feat been achieved by substitutes from two different teams. Mphela's only prior involvement had been as a 91st-minute substitute against Brazil, and Joel Santana will perhaps wonder whether the Mamelodi Sundowns star could have been the answer to his team's miserable record of two goals from 57 shots on goal in their previous four games. Guiza, meanwhile - whose playing time before today amounted to just 16 minutes - cemented the supersub reputation first established at UEFA EURO 2008. The Fenerbahce star, in fact, has more international goals (5) to his name than he has starting appearances (3).
Little Rustenburg might have lacked the glamour of Johannesburg and the large, passionate crowds of Mangaung/Bloemfontein, but one thing South Africa 2009's smallest venue did not want for was goals. The five served up by Spain and South Africa took Rustenburg's tally to 15 from four matches, an average of 3.75 per game. Fortunately, Johannesburg took this as a signal to get in on the goalscoring act. The first four matches at Ellis Park had yielded a miserly two goals, but this average of 0.5 per game was ditched in spectacular style as USA and Brazil produced a truly classic final.
Did you know?
The FIFA Confederations Cup remains the only FIFA men's competition that has never witnessed a first-minute goal. The two fastest goals in the tournament's history - from Argentina's Gabriel Batistuta in 1992 and Tuncay Sanli of Turkey in 2003 - were both scored in the second minute. The fastest goal of South Africa 2009 was Kaka's fifth-minute opener against Egypt.