Chelsea's Brazilian Stars Shine Brightest in 3-0 Confederations Cup Win
The final match of the Confederations Cup was the one that most neutrals had been hoping for: World Cup and European champions Spain against the historically mighty footballing nation of Brazil.
As the hosts opened the scoring with a scrappy goal inside two minutes, Spain were on the back foot. Chasing the game for the full 90 minutes is a huge task against a team like Brazil, and the hangover from their dogged semifinal performance against Italy proved to be too big an obstacle to overcome.
The fatigue from Chelsea's gruelling 2012-13 schedule took its toll on Juan Mata. He was nowhere near as effective as he has been in Blue, and by the time he was substituted for Jesus Navas early in the second half, he looked truly exhausted. Blues fans will be hoping that he went straight from the stadium to the airport for two weeks of much-needed rest and relaxation.
Fernando Torres was also suffering. If Vicente Del Bosque was hoping that his faith would rejuvenate the beleaguered striker he was set to be disappointed. Rather than emulating the fine form that he exhibited in the latter half of Chelsea's season, Torres was once again withdrawn and lacklustre.
El Nino had 26 touches, none of which resulted in a single shot on target, before being substituted for David Villa after an hour. However, he did win the tournament's Golden Boot award, even if he didn't look particularly pleased.
If Torres and Mata were uninspired, Chelsea's Brazilians were the exact opposite.
Oscar provided the assist for the hosts' second goal shortly before half-time, when he held the ball up waiting for Neymar to return from an offside position before playing a through ball that bamboozled the Spanish back four. Starting in a slightly deeper role than he has been used in at Chelsea, the 21-year-old's defensive game was more error prone than usual as he committed three fouls.
He should have scored shortly after Fred's opener but saw his shot fire just wide of the post, although it could be argued that the free-kick he won on the edge of the Spanish penalty area should have resulted in a red card for Sergio Ramos. Overall, the Confederations Cup served to show how effective Oscar can be for the Blues, if he is used correctly.
Despite Oscar's assist, the award for standout Chelsea player of the match has to go to David Luiz. The passion he puts into his performances for his national team is a wonder to behold, and he ensured that the noise of the crowd did not falter for a second in the Maracana.
The philosophy of "every outfield player is an attacking player" that runs through the Brazilian set-up hides Luiz's defensive frailties, which have so often been exposed in the Premier League. He has his centre-half position in the national team locked down, mostly due to the insane clearances he is capable of making.
If they can continue to perform consistently at such a high level, there is no doubt that Luiz and Oscar could bring about a new era of success for their country. Chelsea fans will be hoping that, after a desperately needed holiday, they can translate that form to their club when the new season kicks off in August.
Statistics taken from WhoScored.
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