Spain were humiliated by Brazil in the Confederations Cup final but Neymar wasn’t the star, that accolade must go to the Maracana crowd.
A stirring rendition of the national anthem would have been sufficient to intimidate the world and European champions, but the intensity of Brazil’s first few minutes made it a certainty.
Neymar won Player of the Tournament but his less glamorous teammate Fred made the early breakthrough, bundling home after a goalmouth scramble with just a little over two minutes gone.
Barcelona trio Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Xavi are used to controlling midfield but they had no answer to Brazil’s high tempo and fervent pressing when they had the ball.
Spain did not look themselves and it was suggested that 120 minutes in the heat and humidity of Fortaleza against Italy only a few days earlier may have been a significant factor.
Whatever the reason, Spain just could not live with a Brazil side that was in inspired form, urged on by a roaring home crowd.
If not the most prestigious tournament, the Confederations Cup has proved that Neymar enjoys the big stage and it doesn’t feel surprising that he pulled something special out of the bag to double Brazil’s lead shortly before half-time.
Oscar supplied the cute pass and the new Barcelona man fired high in to the roof of the net at the near post, sending the Maracana into delirium.
Spain were expected to react in the second half as champions do, but the game was killed off not long after the break.
Fred ran onto a pass in the left side of the area and steered an accomplished first-time finish into Iker Casillas’ far corner.
Any fight left in Vicente del Bosque’s team disappeared after that and Brazil played sensibly to see out the match, though there was room for further drama.
Gerard Pique brought down Neymar when his new teammate was running through on goal and it brought the Maracana crowd great delight when he was shown red and the big screen immediately cut to an upset looking Shakira.
Watch the goals from Brazil’s 3-0 won over Spain in the Confederations Cup final below…
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