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The U.S. were 2-0 up at halftime and threatening another major shock before Brazil stormed back to win 3-2 and seal the Confederations Cup.
Goals by Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan had Brazil in big trouble but Luis Fabiano took his tournament tally to five in five games when he scored just after the restart and equalised in the 74th minute. Brazil captain Lucio completed the job when he rose superbly to head home an Elano corner six minutes from time.
The U.S. comfortably beat Spain in the semis and they were equally brilliant in the first half at Johannesburg’s Ellis Park. Some may allege Spain and Brazil were not playing as they would in the World Cup, but something has certainly changed in soccer’s world order following this competition.
It is all set up nicely for the World Cup next year, especially as the South Africans have proved themselves worthy hosts after a fine Confederations Cup.
Is the fact that Brazil are Argentina’s next opponents in the World Cup qualifiers getting to Argentines worried by the precarious position of Diego Maradona’s team in the standings?
While Brazil enjoy more match practice at the Confederations Cup in South Africa, Argentina, their rivals in the 2005 final in Germany, are bickering over the pitch on which to host their arch-rivals in match that will have a major bearing on their World Cup ambitions.
Sao Paulo have won the Brazilian championship for the last three years but their style of play is far removed from their country’s fine footballing traditions.
Defensive, physical, brutally efficient in attack and often destructive, Muricy Ramalho’s team have made few friends outside their own fan base.
There will be a heavy Brazilian influence in Wednesday’s UEFA Cup final between Shakhtar Donetsk and Werder Bremen in Istanbul — despite the absence of Werder’s influential playmaker Diego through suspension.
Brazilian players have made a major impact in recent finals and with Ukraine’s Shakhtar boasting five in their ranks, and Naldo lining up for their German rivals, expect the boys from South America to take centre stage.
Ronaldo was not surprisingly delighted to lay hands on a winner’s medal so soon after returning from last year’s knee injury but even he probably knows deep down that it is not that much to get excited about.
Ronaldo’s performances for Corinthians have already started talk of a Brazil recall — he has not played for his country since the 2006 World Cup — and national team coach Dunga was in the crowd when Corinthians held Santos 1-1 to win the Paulista championship on Sunday.
Adriano looks to have played his last match for Inter Milan after failing to return to the Serie A leaders from international duty with Brazil this month and announcing he was taking a break from football.
President Massimo Moratti said last week that Inter were considering extinguishing the player’s contract, which runs until the end of next season.
A missing person’s hunt has ended happily in Brazil. Inter Milan striker Adriano has been found.
The burly 27-year-old, who has battled drink and personal problems in the past, failed to return to Italy last week after being an unused substitute in Brazil’s World Cup qualifiers with Ecuador and Peru. Inter had no idea where he was.
As usual, it feels like there is a contest going on to devise the oddest format for a football tournament. Over the next few days, the Reuters soccer blog will present the various candidates for this year’s award for the strangest concept.
Like so often in the modern game, arranging international friendlies is much easier if you happen to be a big and powerful footballing nation.
While this week offered three lucrative and prestigious friendlies — Brazil-Italy, Spain-England and France-Argentina — smaller countries were left scratching around for opposition.
Ronaldo is back. Nearly 10 months after suffering a serious knee injury during a Serie A game for AC Milan, the third such misfortune in his career, he has agreed terms to join Corinthians, one of Brazil’s biggest and most volatile clubs.
Even before the injury, Ronaldo had been struggling amid speculation he was overweight but had lost his hunger for the game. He had not been picked by Brazil since his much-criticised performance at the 2006 World Cup and was eventually off-loaded to Milan from Real Madrid less than six months later.