Fans across Brazil today are no doubt waking up with a huge hangover this morning after seeing their nation pull off a huge win over Spain in the Confederations Cup Final. A double from Fred sandwiched a Neymar strike in a 3-0 win which saw Spain defenders Sergio Ramos miss a penalty and Gerard Pique sent off.
Here are five conclusions from the tournament final:
It's Game On at World Cup 2014
Bring on the World Cup! A strong tournament needs a strong host country, and every World Cup needs a strong Brazil. This now appears possible, as unlikely a thought as it seemed when a dismal Brazil lost to England in a friendly earlier this year at Wembley. Brazil showed what home support can do, and now have elevated themselves to be surely the favourites to lift next year's tournament, with home support a real difference maker to a side which had struggled for form over recent months. Spain will go back and re-assess, and surely come back stronger, while other teams like Argentina and Italy will be bouyed by Spain's defeat. Next year's World Cup looks more exciting than ever.
Football will triumph over politics
The 2013 Confederations Cup will be remembered in small part for protests by millions of Brazilians, upset at everything from corruption to the local economy. But when all is said and done, the memory of the tournament will be Luis Scolari's all-conquering Brazil team, which can provide a huge sticking plaster over the country's social problems. But that is no bad thing as far as football is concerned, as that is what the tournament should be about, and next year's World Cup will likely also rise above any arising issues.
This was no freak result
Spain's winning streak in competitive matches had to end at some point, but Vicente del Bosque will have been concerned about the manner of the defeat. A penalty loss to Italy would have been easier to stomach than the way Spain were torn apart by Brazil. But this was no freak result, reminiscent of the way Bayern Munich ran roughshod over Barcelona in the Champions League. Neither did they dominate against Italy in the semi-final as they did at Euro 2012 a year ago. The midfield pairing of Xavi and Andres Iniesta now face a huge challenge, and it is one they can rise to. For club and country they will want to show their dominance next season. Whether Brazil's win sees them lose their aura of invincibility and succumb to further disappointment is something to watch.
Neymar is no show pony
Neymar's performance at Wembley was a poor one, which saw him unfairly criticised in several quarters, mainly from spectators who had never watched him play in Brazil. This tournament he proved once and for all what all the fuss was about on the world stage, putting any talk about being 'overrated' firmly to bed. The prospect of him linking up with Lionel Messi at Barcelona next season is a mouth-watering one. He might want to cut down on the playacting though.
David Luiz's defensive abilities should not be questioned
The highlight of Brazil's win were not the three goals they scored, but David Luiz incredible goalline clearance from Pedro, where he not only managed to block the shot but turn it over the bar. The Chelsea centre-back has been criticised over here ever since arriving by those who don't see him as a 'natural' defender, but his show of commitment and skill was as natural as they come. Simply because he has the footballing ability like many Brazilian centre-backs to play further forward up the pitch, does not mean he is any less important as a player. Sure he can be prone to the odd gaffe too, but that is part of his characteristic which also makes him great.
What did you take away from the match?
image: © leandrociuffo