Brazil won a third successive Confederations Cup by defeating the world champions Spain 3-0 in the Maracanã
That was a fantastic victory, Brazil were effective and assertive. It would be foolish to pen Spain's obituaries. As many of you pointed out they lost to the USA in 2009 in this tournament. "Given that you need to either be the World Cup host country, reigning world champions or reigning continental champions, England's only chance to take part in the Confederations Cup is if they host it in 2025 … is that the reason for some of the disdain by the UK press towards such an enjoyable and exciting tournament?" asks Ian Cook. I don't think there's disdain for it Ian. Perhaps it's just football fatigue in midsummer. But that was remarkably enjoyable. Thanks for your company and your emails. Good night.
Brazil win their third successive Confederations Cup and their fourth in total.
89 min: Brazil are just tapping it around now, more than satisfied with a 3-0 victory.
87 min: Paulinho goes of for Hernanes. "I dunno, don't think the atmosphere is THAT good," writes Patrick Crumlish. Wait for it, wait for it … "Severely lacking in vuvuzelas." Very good, Patrick! Brazil playing keepball in the centre of the park, much to the crowd's delight.
85 min: "Justin Kavanagh is right in saying that Spain have missed Xabi Alonso's long passes at times, but I don't think he would have coped well with Brazil's heavy pressing - he isn't the most mobile of players and often doesn't perform well in the high tempo Clasicos," writes Aisling Daly. "But his absence has prompted Del Bosque to drop the double pivot system of two defensive midfielders in favour of only Busquets. But I'd guess he'll be back in the team once he's fit - in this game and against Italy, Spain could have used the solidity a second defensive midfielder would bring." Julio Cesar has made another excellent save, this one from David Villa.
84 min: "Isn't the atmosphere at this game fantastic?"asks Richard King. "Every game should have noise like this. Wonderful stuff." It's tremendous, Richard.
83 min: Shot from Jo as he storms down the left, with Neymar bettre placed. Casillas parries it away to the keeper's left and Spain clear.
81 min: Julio Cesar earns his clean sheet bonus (if he's on one) with a low save from Pedro's diagonal shot from the left, pouncing down to tip it away.
79 min: Brazil sub: Jo for Fred. "I think this could be a good thing for Spain in a strange way as it will make them realise that some players will need to go before the next World Cup (Arbeloa, Torres etc) and maybe blood some of the younger ones (take your pick from the under 21s)," writes Carl Finch. "And not just think they can simply play one way turn up and cruise to victory (I.e. putting a defender/defensive midfielder upfront as they did against Italy). It will also give some of the other teams belief that Spain can be beaten. This however does not apply to England whose prospects are looking even grimmer in my eyes (if we qualify that is)!"
77 min: Neymar through the middle and forced out of room by Azpilicueta who just nicked the ball off his toe.
74 min: Dani Alves crosses from the right to Fred who shoots in the box but it's a rolled shot rather than a powerful one and Busquets blocks. "I almost glad about the way this is going," says Matt Dony. "I supported Spain before it was cool, and now hopefully the fair weather fans will Man City themselves over to Brazil, leaving me looking like less of a glory boy. And I think you've been harsh on Torres. He had almost nothing to work with. Arbeloa was a disgrace, though." Yeah, you're right on Torres. Thought he allowed Paulinho to win two headers from corners though that he could have won.
71 min: "Whenever Marcelo is mentioned I keep getting images of intense discussions about foot massages rather than defensive duties," writes Ian Copestake of Ving Rhames. Brazil sub – Jadson for Hulk. "Humour me with a rare bit of Confederations Cup kit-chat, but am I the only one who finds the ribbon-like collar on the Spain shirt, inferring yet another winner's medal dangling around the neck, to be a bit presumptuous?" writes Grant Tennille. "Hubris ahoy!" They're getting it tonight. It's as if a statue has been pulled down. But what does it mean in the long run? Who knows. It's too soon, surely, to tell.
69 min: Neymar chips the free kick over the wall, curling towards the right post but it didn't descend quick enough and hit the outside roof of the net, the slates bit. (It's late).
67 min: Gérard Piqué is deservedly sent off for tripping Neymar who sprinted past Busquets and closed in on the box. Pique and Casillas protest ridiculously because he kicked him on the shin when he slid in and he was the last man. Shakira, watching, is taking some of the goading aimed at her chap, too.
65 min: Nice move by Spain up the left with Pedro whipping a near post cross that Villa only just misses when he slides in. "Brazil, when they play like this, remind me of Germany under Löw," writes Gabriel Piller. "Fast, functional and with just enough style."
63 min: Marcelo played through on the left of the box after a slick Neymar pass. The angle's tight and Fred is in the centre of goal but marcelo shoots and into the side netting. "The GIANT has come back!" writes Wellingtton Mireali mesquita. "Where is Spain?Welcome to the country of football!" Scotland?
61 min: Now this is an interesting point from David Yates: "Anyone else got the feeling that'll have been the last time you see Arbeloa and Torres in a Spanish shirt?" That would be a fair punt, Tom. Both were pretty hopeless.
60 min: Sergio Ramos was the penalty taker who missed. Sorry.
58 min: Torres off for David Villa. Torres manages to look affronted. Corner to Spain, Xavi to the near post where Pique heads without power. A minute earlier Hulk was racing through 30 yards out and attempted to toe poke it high up and over Casillas who was haring out to sweep up but couldn't direct it so it ended up going more vertically than horizontally.
55 min: Just before the award of the penalty my inbox was beginning to fill up with emails from Brazil of the "form is temporary, class is permanent" variety. It's quite refreshing really that so many people are so chuffed. Pedro's on the left now, cutting in and rolling it back to Iniesta who shoots weakly at Julio Cesar.
Screwed wide of Julio Cesar's post – or so it seems but Cesar is claiming he touched it even though he was given a goalkick.
Marcelo trips Navas.
50 min: "Pray for Tahiti," honks Cleyson. Here's a point from Nicholas: "Hook Torres? What about Casillas? Mourinho must be mouthing I told you so in Catalan." Off goes Mata, on comes Bitty Navas.
48 min: This tactic Brazil are using, getting David Luiz to bring the ball up the left and Marcelo switching into the middle has caused Spain all sorts of problems, Arbeloa not being able to cope with it and Azpilicueta neither for that goal.
Played up the left, Marcelo cutting inside and tapping through to Neymar in the centre who flicks it to his left and Fred steers a shot around Casillas into the opposite corner
46 min: "I love when Brazil plays like this," writes Nathaniel Davis. "I wouldn't say they're playing with style: more like a full-blast/nonchalant/savage prowess. The Dunga years seemed to put the shackles on, but I still remember a few games from that period when they turned into a wildly formless herd of very good footballers. Always an invigorating sight." Spain sub – Arbeloa off, Azpilicueta on. Rightly so, too. He was terrible that half.
"Once again this Brazil side is showing that it is not quite as bad as many believed," writes Andreas Remy. "It might not be a brilliant side (were they brilliant in '94 or 2002?), but with home support I think they have a legitimate shot at the title next year. And Spain just does not really care about the Confederations Cup; I reckon come next year they will still be the No1 favourite to win the whole thing - and rightly so." Fair point Andreas. They do care, I think, but not that much.
Oh to be young. "That was brilliant," writes Alex Perring. "That was quite possibly the greatest 45 minutes of football I have witnessed in my 21 years of existence." Either that or we have a new Father Jessup.
"Whatever Alex in Spain says," writes Justin Kavanagh, "the pitch at the Maracana looks like the Rio riot police have been practising on it all week. And the one man on the Spanish team that can unlock a defence with a long ball, Xabi Alonso is missing. If they want to retain their World Cup, Spain need a plan B. So let's see what they come up with in the second half." Indeed.
Too soon? "Right now millions of pseudo 'soccer' fans taking off their red tops, and putting back on their yellow ones," crows Lorenzo Fernandez, a Watford supporter, presumably.
That was loud and such an entertaining half. "Surely Spain will have to hook Torres ASAFP if they really want to get back into this game?" writes Tom Yates. "I think the current exchange rate is four goals against Tahiti equates to 0.04 of a goal against anyone else." He's not being allowed to play tonight is he?
Here's George Young: "Brazil seem to have invoked the spirit of Van Bommel tonight, clattering Spaniards at every opportunity. That nice Iniesta seems to have really riled them." Fifa, I believe, supply the pictures and there haven't been nearly enough replays of some incidents, George, for me to be sure. I don't mean to get splinters in the arsch but this is an odd job, you have your head down typing half the time rather than watching.
"Is it a good time to throw in the stat that the Confederations Cup winners have never won the following year's World Cup?" asks Simon Frank, who is always welcomed at parties for spreading some sunshine into every corner.
45 min: I was reading somewhere this morning about neutrals wanting Brazil to be given a footballing lesson by Spain. Well, who really is neutral? And it's great to see Brazil turning on the style.
Glorious finish on the left of the box, played in by Oscar with a delayed one-two and smashed high, almost like Ryan Giggs v Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final in 1999 hard and high at the near post above Casillas. Magnificent.
41 min: Another dangerous run from Fred up the right but his cross to Neymar was cut out.
39 min: David Luiz can't defend? He's just made a superb goalline clearance when Mata played a glorious little dink across the box to the right to Pedro who was clear in on the keeper, He placed it around Julio Cesar without huge power but very precisely yet David Luiz slid in and knocked it clear an inch or so before it went in.
37 min: Interesting what Alanaõ and Alaninho have to make of this having backed Spain all the way. Paulinho's very good isn't he? He isn't going to Spurs really is he.
35 min: Xavi takes a free-kick from the left into the box, aiming for Busquets but Brazil win the header and clear, eventually getting Neymar free to run at Spain from 70 yards with three defenders back. He gets past the first but when he tails right he stumbles and Spain get it back. "Spain aren't passing like Spain, not dominating like Spain, not winning like Spain," says Matt Dony. "I was starting to doubt who was really playing. BUT then Ramos got booked. Looks like it is Spain after all." Ha.
32 min: Big save from Casillas after Jordi Alba misplaced his pass and Brazil broke at lightning pace, working a chance you would have expected Fred to convert, a shot from 15 yards after a lovely threaded pass from Neymar from the left and Casillas blocked it brilliantly diving low to his right. From the corner Fred almost has a free header, smack in the middle of forehead but he can't get it on target.
31 min: Spain have a free kick now by the corner flag after Ramos is shoved while trying to work an opening. The cross is blocked out for a corner which Xavi again takes, aiming for Torres but Paulinho is there to stop him heading it.
29 min: Long delay while Hulk and Neymar debate who'll take the free kick. Neymar touches it to his left and Hulk spanks it over the bar with his left foot.
27 min: "Never thought i would hear Guy Mowbray's comment 'Brazil expect periods where the opposition dominate possession', writes Ian Morgan. Well Spain aren't bossing it now. Sergio Ramos's hand on the back of Oscar as he broke past him and towards the area wins Brazil a free-kick 20 yards out and Ramos a yellow card. Again Brazil suggest it should have been red.
25 min: "They call him Fredje. He looks like he's been in the fredje," says Lawro. What does that mean? Fridge, yes. But really? Osacr is booked for a rake down the calf.
23 min: Spain have worked their way back into this, the usual way, bossing possession, keep ball, triangles and remarkably well-placed flicks but Brazil are defending well and breaking fast, Marcelo shifting it forwards qquickly and Fred dropping his shoulder past to go to the right of Ramos but drags his shot.
21min: It's Sunday night and as everyone in the UK knows, it's time for Poetry Please. Here's Rudyard Copestake:
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and are on the ground along with the goalie;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make space to hack it over the prone 'keeper:
If you can anticipate and not be tired by moving into that space,
Or, lying on the grass, don't worry about lying on the grass,
Or being obstructed don't give way to obstruction,
And yet don't look too good, when the ball finally goes in;
Yours is the Copa America or whatever its called these days, and all the rights that come with it,
And---which is more---you'll be an icon, my son!
19 min: Now Iniesta hits a curling, dipping shot to Julio Cesar's right and he turns it past the post. It wasn't going in. Whoever the TV director is, I'm not a fan. Replays are taking ages. The corner from Xavi is headed high over the bar by Torres after a near-post run
17 min: "Phil Brown is many things, lover, crooner, tanning booth enthusiast," corrects Niall Mullen. "But he is no Geordie. He hails from South Shields and supports Sunderland." Ah, yes. Busquets gets the ball and slots a 25-yard pass down the inside-right channel to Mata who has made a clever diagonal run across Torres but his touch is so heavy he knocks it straight to Julio Cesar.
15 min: Arbeloa is yellow carded when Spain lose possession and Neymar chases on to the through ball, Arbeloa taking him out on the halfway line. Brazil claim that if Neymar hadn't have been fouled he would have been oneon-one with Casillas and Arbeloa should have been sent off.
13 min: Xavi on the right crosses but puts too much on it, The ball comes back to Iniesta who rolls it to Xavi but Hulk is doing his defensive work on the right and blocks the pass.
11 min: This is ace. Noise of this volume would make any match seem like a classic. Brazil are hustling in midfield. Big Phil is up and waving his arms about. David Luiz takes possession on the left and clips it up. They win a throw in and when it comes infield after a couple of "phases" Paulinho tries to chip Casillas who has to push it out from behind the line.
8 min: Neymar's cross from the left hits Arbeloa's heel and falls to Oscar, 15 yards out and he screws his shot wide of Casillas's right post. Good chance. Very good chance. "I think it was Sergio Ramos flying through the air like Hong Kong Phooey," writes Simon Frank. A mild mannered janitor named Penry? "In other news, Brazil in yellow and white – it's just not right." Agreed.
7 min: Big shout for a Spain penalty when they played the ball across the Brazil box from a free-kick on the left, when it hit Marcelo on the hand.
5 min: Brazil certainly look determined to get the ball forwards quickly and not give Spain any time when they don't have the ball, trying to make sure they're not hypnotized by possession and made to dance their legs to stumps.
3 min: It's flaming loud. The crowd is going berserk. Piqué tried to knock the cross out with his foot, leaping in the air, missed it and it bobbled back of Neymar and on the ground Fred chipped it over Casillas who was also on the turf.
Ugly, from a long cross from the right, Neymar and Fred go up, Casillas misses it after Piqué fails to head it clear and Fred turns it in while falling to the floor.
1 min: Brazil kick off, the ball going up the left touchline to Oscar who holds it up, back to goal, and lays it off to Neymar who falls under the challenge of Jordi Alba but no foul is given and Spain get it up the other end quickly where Fernando Torres is fouled but advantage is played.
"Alan Shearer's authority has, in the eyes of all right-thinking people, gone up immeasurably after being subject to the candid assessment of Joe Eff Cee Kinnear," writes Charles Antaki. "If Joe can also disparage Phil Brown then we are our way to a full set of Geordie redemptions." Anthems over. Brazil's bellowed by 50,000 plus acapella style. Pennants exchanged.
Here come the teams – Brazil in white shorts, Neymar with popped collar a la Cantona/member of Then Jericho/fortysomething man on the Saturday afternoon of a summer stag romp after the night before.
The BBC has just had Tim Vickery on. As my colleague Daniel Harris noted, it's about bloody time, too. They asked him about the demonstrations but they could have also asked him about the game because we would value his judgment. Meanwhile Alan Shearer says David Luiz is a good player but "in my opinion" suspect defensively. What's with this "in my opinion" and "I think" that some pundits preface their comments with. Surely if they're saying it, the implication is that we know it's their opinion, we know they think that. Gianluca Vialli thinks Brazil will win 2-0, the Alans go for Spain.
"As people are making requests for how you should justify your hourly wage at this late hour (overtime no?)," asks Ian Copestake causing me to laugh bitterly having looked the word "overtime" up in the dictionary. "Please make regular tweets while penning a libretto to reflect the ironies of sporting achievement and its current use as a means of distraction and pacification in the face of anti-social/progressive elements? Thanks." I will Ian. I've still got two feet open for assignments too.
"I'm just tuning in so I missed the pre-game ceremony," writes Paulo Padilha. "But apparently two of the dancing ball/mushroom/albino ladybugs unfurled a banner that said 'Immediate cancellation of the privatisation of the Maracanã'.
"While there hasn't been a match between Brazil and Spain senior teams in quite a while, in 2011 there was this match between their U20 sides," writes Rit Nanda.
This match was also in South America in Colombia. Spain had beaten South Korea 7-6 on penalties after a 0-0 draw during regulation and extra time, much like they have beaten Italy in this tournament. The very next match they faced Brazil who beat them 4-2 on penalties after drawing 2-2 after 120 minutes. What are the odds of the same happening here? On an aside, Oscar scored a hat-trick in the final of the tournament, I see from Wiki.
I particularly want to know what people feel of this comparison between the senior and U20 sides because according to some, Spain will dominate for the next decade because of their U21 success in Israel this year. But Brazil winning U20s in Colombia did not mean their senior side winning in South Africa. And the Germany team won zilch when they were Euro champs at U21, U19 and U17 levels simultaneously.
I have a request here from Michael (why so informal?) asking me to make sure I post regular photographs to illustrate the action. This may be a problem as it's a slight inconvenience to trawl the picture agencies, make one's selection then crop pictures to fit while you're trying to watch/write about a football game. What I need is a wing man to do that, or Scott Murray's stick man illustrations. Sadly, I have neither, it being bed/malt time of a Sunday night. I'll see what I can rustle up, though.
"So apparently the company that takes care of the grass/pitches in the Confed Cup is a Catalan one," writes Alex in Spain. "They typically take care of the Nou Camp grass, and are in direct contact with Xavi. According to Spanish TV, the grass today at the Maracanã is shorter than ever, at least shorter than usual." Short grass. What a lousy trick.
Forget what you read before. The source wasn't very reliable. Arsch.
Brazil: Julio Cesar; Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Marcelo; Paulinho, Gustavo, Oscar; Hulk, Neymar; Fred.
Subs: Jefferson, Fernando, Lucas Moura, Hernanes, Dante, Filipe Luis, Jean, Rever, Bernard, Jo, Jadson, Cavalieri.
Spain: Casillas; Arbeloa, Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba; Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta; Pedro, Torres, Mata.
Subs: Valdes, Albiol, Javi Martinez, Azpilicueta, Villa, Fabregas, Soldado,
Monreal, Cazorla, Silva, Jesus Navas, Reina.
Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (Holland)
"The so far peaceful gathering at the Saenz Pena plaza near central Rio is going mobile and immobile," writes the Associated Press's Stephen Wade.
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets around the plaza, with many sitting down to block traffic. There is no violence but the demonstrators are becoming more animated, with several already wearing gas masks in anticipation of police retaliation. Many of them are singing anti-government and anti-Fifa chants.
Italy won the third-fourth place play-off match on penalties if you didn't know. I didn't see anything of it apart from the last 10 minutes – Giorgio Chiellini was very angry when Riccardo Montolivo was sent off for a second bookable offence deep into extra-time, making the universal sign language gesture for a dive at Luis Suárez. I only saw it in real time but my first thought was that Chiellini was right.
Evening all – a very late one in the UK with an 11pm kick-off which brings back memories of 1986 and is a useful taster for next year's World Cup. Your regular guides throughout this tournament are sadly indisposed – Jacob Steinberg getting his giant ball signed down in SW19 and Paul Doyle who has it in his contract that he never works when Mumford & Sons are playing live.
Anyway this is the final we all wanted or at least that's what the Spain captain, Iker Casillas, thinks and Neymar too. Both semi-finals were enjoyable and intriguing and, though Spain were taken to extra-time and penalties 24 hours after Brazil's victory over Uruguay, it would be fair to say that they had the luxury of being able to rest 10 first-choice players against Tahiti (except for Sergio Ramos who only played a half) so the starting XIs' fatigue relative to each other shouldn't be an issue. I would expect the hosts' to stick with the side Luis Felipe Scolari has used for all bar the Italy match with Hulk and Neymar either side of Fred and the impressive Luiz Gustavo, Paulinho and Oscar behind them. Spain have injury concerns over Xavi and, of course, Xabi Alonso is back at home nursing his groin. "Nursing" as a verb, like adjudge, is one of football's more quaint usages that we should do more to encourage. Word is that Bayern Munich's Javi Martínez who came on as a sub against Italy will replace him if required. Other dilemmas for Vicente del Bosque if such a Gary Cooper figure really has anything as wendy as dilemmas, are deciding whether it's Jesus Navas or Pedro, Cesc Fabregas or Fernando Torres/David Villa/Bob Soldado.
We shall find out soon enough. In the meantime, help yourself to their last two tournament meetings, first up during the 1986 World Cup from Guadalajara when Michel's scorcher bounced over the line and was not given and Socrates scored with a header that was (under the old wording of the law) offside. And yes, that is Gerald Sinstadt commentating though probably dubbed on.
Finally, from 1978 here's the 0-0 draw in Mar del Plata on a rotten pitch with David Coleman. Enjoy.