Brazilian media acclaims national team’s return to the top

Rio de Janeiro, July 2 (IANS) Brazil’s media hailed the country’s return to football’s elite after their 3-0 victory over Spain in the Confederations Cup final.

“The champions are back! Brazil smashes Spain at the Maracana,” screamed popular Rio de Janeiro daily O Globo Monday, reports Xinhua.

The newspaper highlighted the efforts of Fred, who scored twice in the final Sunday, and Neymar, winner of the Golden Ball for the best player of the tournament.

But the most lavish praise was reserved for Chelsea defender David Luiz, who brought the crowd of 73,000 fans at the Maracana to their feet after denying Pedro a certain goal with a spectacular goal-line clearance.

“Fred was the destroyer and Neymar was the best on the pitch,” O Globo gushed. “But it was David Luiz who perhaps played the best match of his life.”

“There are champions and there are champions with a capital C. Then there are five-time (World Cup) champions. By winning 3-0 Brazil showed the ex-champions, Spain, that you don’t lose your identity overnight,” the article said.

Another daily, Terra, said Neymar had “turned the tables” after Barcelona’s 4-0 victory over the 21-year-old’s former club Santos in the FIFA Club World Cup final in Japan in 2011.

“With the yellow shirt instead of the white of Santos, the forward gave a lesson to his own professors of two years ago,” the newspaper said. “Now more mature, Neymar learnt to find space despite heavy marking and was the hero of the final.”

Lancenet ventured that several Spain players would now have their place in Vicente del Bosque’s team under review.

“David Silva played in the semifinal and Juan Mata in the final, but neither of them were convincing,” the paper said in an editorial.

Folha de Sao Paulo declared Luiz Felipe Scolari’s team had endeared itself to those yearning for Brazil’s return to the “joga bonito”.

“In 1982 (at the World Cup) Spain was witness to the last Brazilian team that was really loved by fans of the green and yellow,” wrote renowned commentator Juca Kfouri.

“More than 30 years later, to the sounds of ‘ole’ from the crowd, again Spain saw a national team capable of stirring emotion.”

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