Confederations Cup 2013: Grading Top Stars in Brazil vs Spain Final
With Fred and Neymar leading the way, Brazil sent a message to the rest of the soccer world by dismantling mighty Spain, winning 3-0 to secure the 2013 Confederations Cup.
Brazil took a 1-0 lead in just the second minute and never looked back. This came to the extreme delight to the overwhelming Brazilian crowd in Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.
It was stunning to see Spain toppled with such ease, but Brazil was fantastic all tournament, and they deserve all the credit for this win.
Below, I have grades for four key stars in this match.
Neymar has been absolutely brilliant in this Confederations Cup, and the championship match was no different.
He delivered some beautiful passes and was key to Brazil's attack all day. He also delivered a huge goal right before halftime to give Brazil a commanding 2-0 lead. It was another wonderful goal, too.
Transfer Sources tweeted this about Neymar's blast:
Neymar's goal was hit at 110km per hour.— Transfer Sources (@TransferSources) June 30, 2013
That fact becomes even more impressive considering what ESPN points out with this tweet:
Neymar is right-footed. He rifled that ball in with his left. #HesGood— ESPN (@espn) June 30, 2013
Neymar wound up with four goals in five Confederations Cup matches, and he offered a scintillating finish to his outstanding tournament.
Not to be outdone, Fred notched two goals on Sunday to push his Confederations Cup total to five. It took him just two minutes to put Brazil on the board. That was the fastest-scored goal in Confederations Cup Final history. And he did so in amazing fashion. Check it out:
Fred wasn't content with just that spectacular goal. He was playing with amazing intensity in this match and he was all over the pitch.
Also, he appears to like the start of halves. Just two minutes into the second half, Fred notched his second goal to give Brazil a 3-0 lead, which effectively turned the rest of the second half into a victory party for Brazil.
Fernando Torres was a complete non-factor in this match. With Spain falling behind early, they needed Torres to provide a spark, and more importantly a goal or two, and he couldn't deliver.
He wasn't even really close. He appeared listless and fatigued, and he didn't finish the match on the pitch. FC Barcelona Fl tweeted that news:
Minute 59: Fernando Torres goes out and David Villa comes in #ConfederationsCup— FC Barcelona Fl (@FCBarcelonaFl) June 30, 2013
After this performance, one has to wonder how long Torres can hold onto his starting spot.
Iker Casillas: C-
Iker Casillas had been enjoying a nice run at the Confederations Cup. In fact, his international run of success extended far beyond this tournament.
However, that all came quickly crashing down. OptaJose tweeted this after Fred quickly notched the opening score:
2 - Fred is the 1st player to score a brace against Iker Casillas in a competitive game vs Spain since Mphela for South Africa in 2009. Blow— OptaJose (@OptaJose) June 30, 2013
Playing behind a Spain squad adept at controlling possession, Casillas typically is not tested all that often. He was in this match. Brazil launched 14 shots, according to ESPN, with seven of those being on target.
Casillas can't be blamed for Fred's unique opening goal, but Neymar had no angle on the match's second goal. While he fired off a brilliant shot, that was one Spain needed Casillas to stop, and he was not up to the challenge.
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