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RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – The members of Brazil’s national soccer team received a warm welcome on their return home from South Africa, where they won the Confederations Cup for the third time with a 3-2 victory in Johannesburg over surprise finalists the United States. Brazil fought back from being down 2-0 at the end of the first half to take the lead and win the cup once more.
The first half was dominated by the U.S., and Brazil’s goalkeeper July Cesar could only look on as Clint Dempsey scored the first goal after 10 minutes. Just 20 minutes later, U.S. star player Lance Donovan got the second shot. It was, according to Clarín, “a great goal”.
But it was not to last. As Crítica put it, “Brazil should never be written off”, and just 43 seconds into the second half, Luis Fabiano made the score 2-1. Twenty-eight minutes later and Fabiano leveled the score by heading in a rebound from a shot by Kaká. Then, with only two minutes to go until the final whistle, Luisao turned the match on its head when he headed in Brazil’s third goal from a corner kick.
Brazil manager Dunga told DPA that “you can only win after being two goals down in the final if you have a committed team … We displayed strength and motivation. Brazilian football comes in for a lot of criticism, but it always produces results”.
Kaká won the award for best player in the tournament. Second place went to his teammate Luis Fabiano, who was also the leading scorer. According to La Nación, Brazil also won the Fair Play award. Tim Howard of the United States was named the best goalkeeper of the tournament.
The next challenge for Brazil will be to win the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, but, as Julio Cesar told EFE, “first we have to qualify and only after that will we think about the Cup”.
Brazil are currently at the top of the South American World Cup qualifying table, followed by Chile in second place and Paraguay in third. In their next qualifying match they will face fourth-placed Argentina in Buenos Aires.