Brazil will need to replicate their strike-rate against Japan if they are to defeat Spain in the FIFA Confederations Cup final.
With Spain likely to dominate possession in Sunday’s showpiece event at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil will have to be clinical in front of goal as they are unlikely to get too many scoring chances as they bid to defend their Confederations Cup title.
Brazil defeated Japan 3-0 in their opening clash of the tournament, scoring their three goals from four shots on target, and head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari will be demanding a similar lethal nature against Vicente Del Bosque’s side.
Fluminense striker Fred could be the key for Scolari with the 29-year-old having notched three goals in Brazil’s past two matches, while Neymar and Jo have both scored twice at the Confederations Cup.
While Del Bosque has labelled Brazil as favourites due to the country’s football pedigree, there is little doubt Spain are expected to win at the Maracana as they currently hold the FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Championship titles.
Del Bosque will be concerned, however, about his team’s defensive structure as both Nigeria and Italy produced 13 shots in Spain’s past two games with eight and six on target respectively.
Spain have also struggled to control as much possession as expected against Nigeria and Italy, with 57 and 53 percent in those respective matches and if Brazil have over 40 percent of the ball on Sunday, the hosts could be a big chance to win.
Scolari will be expected to name the same line-up he has selected in three out of Brazil’s four matches, including their 2-1 semi-final triumph over Uruguay.
That would see Julio Cesar start in goal, while Marcelo, Thiago Silva, David Luiz and Dani Alves would make up the back four.
Luiz Gustavo and Paulinho will be expected to anchor the midfield, behind Oscar, Neymar, Hulk and Fred.
For Del Bosque, the big concern will be his players’ condition after they played 120 minutes in their semi-final versus Italy, eventually prevailing 7-6 in a penalty shoot-out.
Del Bosque has rotated his squad throughout the tournament, however, although his defensive quintet will most likely be made up of Iker Casillas, Jordi Alba, Alvaro Arbeloa, Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos.
With Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta and Xavi all likely to start in midfield, the biggest question marks remain over the front three with Fernando Torres having seemingly replaced Roberto Soldado as Del Bosque’s preferred striker, while Pedro, Cesc Fabregas and David Silva set to fight it out for the wide positions.
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