Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Brazil claimed its third successive Confederations Cup title on Sunday, cruising past Spain in a resounding 3-0 victory at the historic Maracana.
It took the Brazilians less than two minutes to get on the scoresheet as a cross to the back post was not properly dealt with by the Spanish defense, allowing Fred to pounce on the loose ball and sweep a shot past the sprawled- out Iker Casillas.
Spain nearly equalized later in the opening period when Pedro fired a shot underneath Julio Cesar, but David Luiz was tracking back to clear the shot off the goal line with a sliding challenge.
Brazil doubled its advantage just before halftime when Neymar started and finished a move in the 44th minute. The 21-year-old superstar centered a pass to the top of the box and darted into the penalty area. He checked his run when he did not immediately receive a return pass and hurried back onside, finally collecting a through ball from Oscar before roofing a left-footed shot into the upper corner.
Fred effectively sealed the win less than two minutes into the second half when he latched on to Neymar's "dummy" and slotted a low shot that beat Casillas at the far post.
Spain had a chance for a consolation goal in the 55th minute when Marcelo tripped up Jesus Navas in the box, but Sergio Ramos sent the ensuing attempt from the spot wide of the post.
Things went from bad to worse for Spain when Gerard Pique was sent off in the 68th minute for denying Neymar a goal-scoring opportunity with a rash challenge just outside the box.
With a three-goal lead and a one-man advantage, Brazil cruised the rest of the way to win the Confederations Cup for the fourth time in the tournament's history.
Italy claimed third place in the competition thanks to a defeat of Uruguay on penalty kicks Sunday.
Davide Astori opened the scoring for the Italians in the 24th minute only to see his strike canceled out by Edinson Cavani in the 58th minute. Alessandro Diamanti curled in a free kick in the 73rd minute to restore Italy's lead, but Cavani answered five minutes later with a free kick of his own to equalize for Uruguay once more.
The match went to penalties following two scoreless periods of extra time, and Gianluigi Buffon played a starring role, stopping efforts from Diego Forlan, Martin Caceres and Walter Gargano to lead the Italians to a 3-2 edge.