GERMANY 2-3 BRAZIL
Adriano scored twice to help take Brazil past Germany and into the final of the FIFA Confederations Cup as they defeated the hosts 3-2 in the semi-final in Nuremberg's Frankenstadion on Saturday.
The big Brazil number nine - who was named the Anheuser Busch Man of the Match - settled this semi-final with a powerful low drive past Jens Lehmann and into the far corner with 14 minutes remaining. It was the third time Brazil had got their noses in front and this time there was no coming back for Jurgen Klinsmann's side.
Brazil took the lead twice in the first half but on both occasions the Germans found a swift riposte. Adriano's deflected free-kick opened the scoring on 21 minutes but within two minutes Lukas Podolski headed Germany level. Then, after Ronaldinho had restored Brazil's advantage with a 43rd-minute penalty, a Michael Ballack spot-kick levelled the scores again in first-half stoppage time.
A capacity crowd packed Nuremberg's Frankenstadion to witness the eagerly-awaited clash between hosts Germany and five-times world champions Brazil. The sides were meeting in an official competition for the first time since the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan final three years ago, which the South Americans won 2-0.
Both nations fielded first-choice line-ups. Captain Ballack and Cologne striker Lukas Podolski returned for Germany, with Maicon making a first FIFA Confederations Cup appearance for Brazil.
The teams kept things very tight in a cautious opening. Germany saw slightly more of the ball in the first few minutes, without creating anything clear-cut in front of goal. The Brazilians offered a hint of the danger when Ronaldinho's tenth-minute free-kick evaded a sea of players in the box before passing just inches wide of Lehmann's left-hand upright.
Veteran Bernd Schneider showed great skill on the edge of the opposing box after 17 minutes, taking the ball down on his right foot before letting fly with his left. However, his volley was a little too high.
Germany dominated proceedings until midway through the half, but it was the samba stars who were celebrating the first goal in the 21st minute. Adriano's free-kick from 30 yards took a wicked deflection off Sebastian Deisler, leaving Lehmann hopelessly wrong-footed.
The hosts recovered swiftly from the shock and levelled just two minutes later. Keeper Dida did well to scramble Fabian Ernst's cross-shot over the bar, but Podolski made no mistake with a well-placed header from the ensuing corner swung over by Deisler.
The goals brought the game to life and Brazil now seized the initiative, creating a string of openings. Lehmann dealt expertly with Kaka's 33rd-minute drive, but the South Americans' ability to break at pace via Kaka and Adriano meant the Germans were permanently under pressure. Deisler did his best to relieve the siege with thrusting runs down the right.
Two minutes from the break, the Brazilians again took off down the right flank, and when Adriano powered his way into the box, the striker fell as he and Robert Huth tussled for the ball, prompting referee Carlos Chandia to whistle for a penalty. Ronaldinho tucked away the award to restore his side's lead.
Podolski was then inches away from connecting with Ernst's cross, but the Germans still had time to conjure up a second equaliser in first-half stoppage time. There was confusion in the box as both Huth and Ballack went down under challenges from Roque Junior and Emerson respectively and referee Chandia awarded his second spot-kick of the game. For the third time in the competition, Ballack dispatched the spot-kick past Dida with a well-taken effort.
The first chance after the restart fell to Robinho, but Lehmann was equal to the young striker's 20-yard snap shot. Adriano then attempted to repeat his first-half free-kick heroics, but although the ball passed through a gap in the German wall, the effort flew wide.
The South Americans opted to try their luck down the flanks more often, and Ronaldinho's skill allowed Gilberto to scamper clear on 56 minutes, but the defender's drilled shot whistled past the post.
Germany boss Klinsmann replaced the subdued Kevin Kuranyi with Gerald Asamoah after 63 minutes. The Schalke man made an immediate impact with a cunning lay-off for Ballack, but Dida made a comfortable save.
Deisler then curled a 20-yard free-kick dangerously over Dida, but the Bayern midfielder was out of luck as the ball flew narrowly wide.
In a repeat of the first 45 minutes, Germany dominated possession and created more chances, but the clinical Brazilians scored the decisive goal. Lucio had directed a close-range header just over before Adriano fought off Huth and pummelled a cross-shot past Lehmann's flailing dive and into the far corner.
Renato replaced the tiring Kaka but the South Americans remained dangerous on the break. Lehmann blocked Robinho's shot on the turn before brilliantly parrying a swerving thunderbolt by Cicinho, who had replaced Maicon at the break.
Klinsmann brought off the outstanding but exhausted Deisler ten minutes from time and threw on Mike Hanke as the Germans switched to a three-man front line in a last throw of the dice. Roared on by the passionate crowd, the weary hosts tried everything, but the Brazilians skilfully protected their 3-2 lead until the final whistle.