So, the Confederations Cup is just about over for another year but there is just one small thing to settle, who will the winner be?
The final is most people’s pre-tournament prediction as hosts Brazil take on the World Champions Spain on Sunday evening.
But to whet appetites before the grand finale, there is also the third/fourth place play-off between the two defeated semi-final sides as Uruguay face Italy.
Brazil v Spain
Both teams were made to work hard for their spots in the final, Spain more so after being dominated by Italy for large stages of their semi-final before finally progressing in a thrilling penalty shoot-out.
Brazil had the returning Paulinho to thank for securing a late win over the Uruguayans. The midfielder, who is being tipped for a move to Tottenham this summer, missed Brazil’s last group stage match but he netted with four minutes on the clock to secure the win.
Brazil will be looking to win their third Confederations Cup on the trot which would set them up nicely ahead of their World Cup next year but Spain will be eager to complete their treble alongside the World Cup and European Championship.
The two nations have only met once in the past 23 years, with that friendly ending 0-0 but Spain won the previous encounter, also a friendly 3-0, back in 1990.
But Brazil’s imperious unbeaten record on home soil which stretches all the way back to 1975 means they are slight favourites to retain the title, Bet Victor offering the best odds of 10/11 to.
But it’s extremely close in the betting lists and Ladbrokes are providing odds of 19/20 on Vicente Del Bosque’s Spain lifting the trophy.
Fernando Torres has been the tournament’s hot shot so far, topping the top scorers lists with five goals and he is joint favourite to score first in the final, Stan James offering 6/1 odds.
He didn’t score in the semi-final but Neymar netted in all three group matches and Paddy Power amongst other are also offering odds of 6/1 for him to opening the scoring in the final.
Italy v Uruguay
It is the match that neither of the sides wanted to be playing in, but Italy and Uruguay must play-out the third place play-off before starting their overdue summer breaks.
Italy will be the bitterer of the two after they pushed Spain right to the edge before finally being denied in a high quality penalty shootout.
But they may well be the more jaded of the two sides after having 24-hours less to recover since their semi-final, whilst also enduring a full 120-minutes in energy-sapping conditions of 29 degrees Celsius in Fortaleza.
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