Monday, July 1, 2013

Brazil Puts Out the Welcome Mat, but it Comes With a Warning Label

The host nation for the 2013 Confederations Cup did more than just dominate the top team in the world en route to a 3-0 win, they sent a message to everyone on the planet that might be watching that if you thought they looked tough in this tournament, the daunting task of taking them out in their own house when everyone comes to play might actually be impossible as they have not lost a competitive match at home since 1975. If you took the jersey’s off and watched the match on Sunday you surely would have thought that the eventual winner was the top side in the world and the loser ranked 22nd but it turned out to be the opposite and if that’s any harbinger of things to come next year then you should certainly throw out the rankings. Ironically, this may be the best thing to happen to Spain who has ranked first for the past 20 months, and is the most accomplished national team of recent decades, winning its first World Cup in 2010 between titles in the 2008 and 2012 European Championships. However, getting handed their worst lost since 1985 and ending their 29-game winning streak, as it may serve as a wakeup call that they will certainly not be able to just show up and hoist another world championship next summer. "We never arrived," said Xavi, whose ineffectual performance was one of the big surprises on a lacklustre night for the Spaniards, who had Gerard Pique sent off."They were more intense, they pressured more and there was more rhythm to their game. They were just better." His words were echoed by coach Vicente del Bosque who, after voicing irritation with Brazil fouls disrupting his side's flow, was quick to acknowledge that "they were better than us and they deserved the title". Conversely, Brazil is focusing on the really big prize: the World Cup that it hosts next year."We know that the tournament that we will be playing next year will be a lot more difficult," Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said. "Now we have more confidence. That's what we needed." But there is hope for the rest of the world despite not only Brazil’s but South American sides home success in the World Cup, no country has ever won the Confederations Cup and then proceeded to hoist the ‘Cup of Life’ so don’t schedule any parties in Rio other than Carnival just yet.

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