Sunday's Confederations Cup finale presents us with the marquee matchup wanted by fans all over the world, as everyone will finally be treated to a contest between tournament-hosting Brazil and tiki-taka metronome Spain.
Spain, as reigning World and European champions, come into the game as favorites. La Roja have lived up to expectations, as they are still yet to concede a goal. Spain has received contributions from the entire squad, even perennial pariah Fernando Torres, who is actually in position to win yet another Golden Boot.
The constant presence of Xavi and Andres Iniesta lead a Spain team that has not been knocked out of a competition since losing to the United States in the 2009 edition of this very tournament. However, Spain will be favorites to complete their international treble of the World Cup, European Championships and Confederations Cup.
Brazil, on the other hand, has been lead by the strong performances from their talisman, Neymar. Despite the pressure of being anointed as the next Brazilian superstar, Neymar has been an important cog in the Brazilian offense, as his three goals have him tied with Fred for the team lead. However, Neymar has also passed the ball well, including his amazing display of dribbling skill against Mexico.
However, Brazil is much more than Neymar, as Fred, Hulk and Oscar lead a potent offense that is backed up by a back line featuring PSG's Thiago Silva and Chelsea's David Luiz.
While the odds certainly favor Spain, Brazil certainly has a chance. The Selecao will have the benefit of home-field advantage as hosts. While Brazilian sides are typically crippled by pressure, this team has stood up admirably and earned respect from both local and international fans.
Spain will also be coming off of an exhausting defeat of Italy, who were able to hold the Spaniards goalless. The Italians were a mere penalty shootout away from advancing to the final, showing that Spain is certainly beatable.
Will Spain recover in time to face the stiff test that is Brazil? Can Brazil stop Spain's famed tiki-taka playing style? Can Neymar live up to the hype?
Look for Brazil to try and strike early and take the game to Spain. Brazil will need to score first to have a chance, as goal-up Spain can pass you all over the pitch. If Neymar can inspire a bit of magic, Brazil has a very real chance to topple the world champions on their way to a World Cup run.
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