Brazil's national football team has qualified to meet the USA team Sunday in the final of the Confederations Cup in South Africa. The Brazilian team beat South Africa 1-0 before a capacity crowd in Johannesburg.
Brazil and South Africa fought a tight , well-executed game Thursday before a highly partisan crowd in downtown Johannesburg's Ellis Park stadium.
The Brazilian team dominated during much of the second half and the South Africans displayed some impressive team work in the mid-field. But neither side was able to score until Brazilian substitute Daniel Alves, with two minutes to go in the game, bent a free kick past the South African goalie (Itumeleng Khune) just inside the outer goal post.
Brazilian coach Dunga told reporters afterwards that he had expected a tough match.
He says we knew that the South Africans knew how to attack, that they would mount a strong defense and would follow up with a counter-attack.
He parried charges that the Brazilian performance was lackluster saying his team was tired after playing six major matches on two continents in three weeks. But he said we are able to endure.
The Brazilian team faced a young and less-experienced South African side which had vastly improved in recent months under the coaching of fellow Brazilian, Joel Santana.
Santana said he was proud of his team.
He says the South Africans played disciplined, harmonious and clean football against a five-time world champion that also won the previous Confederations Cup.
He said it was important for his team to confront players of such quality and experience.
And noting that they merely lost because of a free kick in the final minutes of the game he said he hoped the experience would prove useful as they prepare for next year's World Cup which is to be hosted by South Africa.
Brazil meets the United States in the Cup final Sunday in Johannesburg. The USA moved to the final Wednesday by beating Spain, which had been undefeated in a record 35 games, in a hard-fought match. The USA squeaked into the second round on a one-goal difference over Italy and Egypt.
South Africa and Spain will play for third place in a consolation match also on Sunday.