FRANKFURT, June 29 (Reuters) - Brazil scored a dazzling 4-1
win over arch-rivals Argentina to add the Confederations Cup to
their World Cup and Copa America titles on Wednesday.
Their biggest win over Argentina for 37 years also avenged a
3-1 defeat in Buenos Aires in a World Cup qualifier three weeks
ago and left little doubt that Brazil will be the team to beat
in next year's World Cup finals.
Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira said: 'Argentina v
Brazil are always great matches. Argentina always have good
teams but we were good in defence and attack tonight and I think
we deserved to win this title.'
Two outstanding goals from Adriano steered Brazil to an
unforgettable victory, the first a blistering left-foot shot in
the 11th minute after he appeared to lose control of the ball.
His second, a powerful header from a Cicinho cross after
evading his marker in the 63rd minute, made him the tournament's
top scorer with five goals. He was also named Player of the
Kaka, firing home in the 16th minute after an audacious
drag-back and sweetly-struck curler, and Ronaldinho, with a
simple tap-in again after a Cicinho cross in the 47th minute,
scored the other goals as Parreira celebrated his 100th match as
Brazil coach in style.
Robinho nearly got on the scoresheet with a 20-metre shot
that cannoned off the crossbar after 58 minutes and Adriano was
only centimetres away from forcing home the ball for his
hat-trick a minute from time.
Brazil were irresistible, although Argentina, who played
extra time against Mexico in the semi-finals on Sunday, were
below their best and looked tired almost from the start.
It was left to substitute Pablo Aimar to score a consolation
goal for Argentina with a brave diving header after 65 minutes,
while Brazil had keeper Dida to thank for some important saves.
The only sour note in an otherwise sporting game came when
Ronaldinho and Fabricio Coloccini were booked in the 28th minute
after Ronaldinho jabbed an elbow at the Argentine after he
kicked the Brazilian skipper.
Apart from that, it was a fitting finale to a superb
tournament that saw 56 goals scored in 16 matches and augurs
well for next year's World Cup.
Brazil, who coped with the cold night air, emulated France
by winning the Cup for the second time following their previous
success in the inaugural tournament in 1997.
After two weeks of hot weather, the match was played on a
chilly night as a thunderstorm raged around the Waldstadion, the
pitch and spectators protected from the rain and lightning with
the roof covers in place.
However, one gaping rip in one of the canvas sections of the
roof allowed rain water to cascade down on to photographers and
fans by one of the corner flags.
The stadium announcer issued instructions at halftime for
spectators to remain in their seats for safety's sake.
But the main danger facing Argentina was not the weather but
the Brazilian attack.
Almost from the start Brazil looked lively, inventive and
full of running, with Robinho unlocking Argentina's defence with
two jinking runs in the opening minutes that unsettled the
defenders marking him.
Then Adriano struck with a goal even better than the
ferocious shot he fired home from 30 metres against Greece in
Brazil's opening match on June 16.
This time he made space for himself, appeared to lose
control of the ball, but recovered his poise to elude a tackle
from Gabriel Heinze before powering the ball past keeper German
Lux as other defenders closed in on him.
Brazil were better in midfield and defence as well, while
Argentina playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme had a quiet match,
though he went close to a goal soon after Adriano's opener.
With Argentina having to press men forward to save the game,
they left huge gaps at the back and at times Brazil had four men
thundering down on two forlorn Argentine defenders.
One move in the 52nd minute should have led to another goal
but Lux did well to save a powerful Kaka shot.