Brazil coach: Spain ‘spectacular,’ but we can win

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Brazil coach: Spain ‘spectacular,’ but we can win

RIO DE JANEIRO - The Confederations Cup has the final nearly everyone wanted: A long-awaited matchup between world champion Spain and host Brazil.

The most dominant team in recent years and the most successful team of all time will meet on Sunday at the Maracana Stadium to decide the winner of the eight-nation warm-up tournament for next year’s World Cup.

It will be the first time the traditional football nations meet in more than a decade, and the first competitive match between them since Brazil’s 1-0 win in the first round of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

“It’s the match everyone wanted to happen,” Brazilian striker Neymar said. “The entire world wanted it and everybody will be watching it.”

Brazil hopes a victory will help it regain its status as a global powerhouse after recent struggles, while Spain wants to show that not even the five-time world champions can put a dent in its supremacy.

“Brazil is possibly the best team in the history of football and to face them in this situation is something magnificent,” Spain midfielder Xavi Hernandez said. “It’s a special final, a special night. We want to win it.”

With more than 70,000 Brazilian fans packing the iconic venue, the world and European champions will be put to the test by a reinvigorated Brazil team led by the 21-year-old Neymar and World Cup-winning coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.

“Spain is a spectacular team but it has weak points just like any other team,” Scolari said. “I don’t think they are the favorites. We are capable of winning. This is our home and we need to make them respect us.”

The hosts will be trying to win their third-straight title in the competition, and fourth overall, while Spain will be looking for its fourth major trophy in five years.

Spain won the 2010 World Cup, along with the 2008 and 2012 European Championships. The team is unbeaten in a world record 29 competitive matches over three years since losing its 2010 World Cup opener to Switzerland.

?Brazil won its fifth World Cup title in 2002, but was eliminated in the quarterfinals in the last two World Cups and hasn’t won a significant title since the 2009 Confederations Cup in South Africa.

AP


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