- Associated Press - Sunday, June 30, 2013

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - The Associated Press is following events in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday. The Confederations Cup final between Spain and Brazil kicks off at 7 p.m. local time (2200 GMT). Follow this live feed for updates:



Brazil captain Thiago Silva has his hands on the Confederations Cup trophy, and he’s holding it over his head. And that essentially signals the end of the competition and the start of the team’s celebrations. They will certainly be enjoying their accomplishment tonight, and with the World Cup coming back to Brazil next year, they will more likely be celebrating for the next 12 months.



Suited FIFA officials ran around anxiously at the start of the Confederations Cup final as the obvious smell of tear gas wafted across the Maracana stadium, writes Simon Haydon. A protest by several thousand people a couple of hundred yards (meters) away had come to a sudden end as police flooded the area with gas. Volunteers and stadium workers felt the effects as the gas drifted past them. One woman wore a mask and another worker dabbed her eyes with a wet cloth. Fortunately, the gas did not seem to infiltrate the stadium, where more than 70,000 people were watching Brazil play in the final of the Confederations Cup. FIFA was not immediately available for comment.



Now that Brazil has won its fourth Confederations Cup title, it may be worthwhile to remember that no current champion of the warm-up tournament has ever gone on to win the subsequent World Cup. We’ll have to wait just over a year to see if that streak will continue.



Brazil’s players have been roaming from one side of the field to the other, showing their appreciation to the fans. They should. The fans at the Maracana Stadium were incredible, cheering and screaming for their team every step of the way as they completely outplayed Spain to win their fourth title at the World Cup warm-up tournament.



Brazil did it, they won the Confederations Cup title — again. The Brazilians dominated the final at the Maracana Stadium, beating world champion Spain 3-0. And while victory gave Brazil its third straight title in the competition, it also gave everyone in the country hope that the national team will be able to repeat this performance on July 13, 2014, in the World Cup final. The venue for that match? The very same Maracana.



Spain defender Gerard Pique was given a straight red card for taking down Neymar as the Brazil striker was headed for goal. The Spanish protested to referee Bjorn Kuipers, but to no avail. Brazil got a free kick out of the decision, and still leads 3-0 with about 20 minutes to go in the Confederations Cup final.



Sergio Ramos had a chance to pull one back against Brazil in the Confederations Cup final, but the Spain defender shot his penalty wide in the 55th minute. Brazil still leads 3-0.



Just before the Confederations Cup final started, clashes between police and protesters who massed at security blockades broke out, with some protesters hurling rocks at authorities who responded with tear gas and shock grenades, reports AP’s Jenny Barchfield. More than 5,000 anti-government protesters marched near the Maracana stadium, venting their anger about the billions of dollars the Brazilian government is spending on major sporting events rather than public services. A Molotov cocktail was also thrown, according to eyewitnesses. The gas drifted over the Maracana stadium and affected workers and volunteers at the ground, but did not seem to affect spectators.



Another goal for Brazil, and another for Fred. The Brazil forward makes it 3-0 in the 47th minute with a slick shot from the edge of the area, sliding the ball past Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas to make it 3-0 in the Confederations Cup final. Fred also scored the first goal in the second minute of the match.



Goals from Neymar and Fred have given Brazil a 2-0 lead over Spain at halftime in the Confederations Cup final. Although Spain is considered to be the best team in the world, Sunday’s match at the Maracana Stadium has been all about Brazil. Fred gave the host team the lead in the second minute, and Neymar made it 2-0 in the 44th. In between, David Luiz came to the rescue by clearing away what looked to be a sure goal from Spain forward Pedro Rodriguez. If the second half is anything like the first, Brazil will win its fourth Confederations Cup title.



The poster boy for Brazilian football scored again, giving Brazil a 2-0 lead over Spain in the Confederations Cup final. Neymar collected a pass from Oscar in the 44th minute and blasted his shot past Iker Casillas in Spain’s goal. Neymar, who recently signed a blockbuster deal with Barcelona, scored in each of Brazil’s three group matches and played a part in both goals in the semifinal win over Uruguay.



Brazil defender David Luiz made a sliding save to keep his team in the lead against Spain in the Confederations Cup final. Spain forward Pedro Rodriguez had an effort on target in the 41st minute, but Luiz scrambled back and was able to get enough on the ball to knock it out of play. The expected “DAVID LUIZ” chants soon followed from the boisterous Brazilian crowd at the Maracana Stadium.



The smell of tear gas is drifting over the Maracana Stadium, making many rub their eyes with discomfort. Police used gas on several thousand protesters who had marched to within 100 yards of the stadium, reports AP’s Jenny Barchfield.



It didn’t take long for Brazil to take the lead over Spain in the Confederations Cup final, and it didn’t take much for the fans at the Maracana Stadium to heap on the praise. Although Spain won the last World Cup, Brazil has won that tournament a record five times. After their national team took a 1-0 lead, the fans started chanting “The champion is back.”



The players are out on the field at the Maracana Stadium for warmups. The Spanish team entered the field to a huge round of jeers from the thousands of Brazilian fans, while the hosts were giving a screaming welcome. With about 40 minutes still to go before kickoff of the Confederations Cup final, the players are jogging around and getting a feel for the stadium. The fans at the Maracana, almost all wearing yellow, should provide a huge boost for Brazil as it tries to win a fourth title at the World Cup warm-up tournament.



The starting lineups for the Confederations Cup final are out, and there are no big surprises. Neymar will be the main man up front for Brazil, while Fernando Torres will start for Spain. In goal for Spain will be Iker Casillas. Here they are — Brazil: Julio Cesar, Daniel Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Marcelo, Luiz Gustavo, Paulinho, Oscar, Hulk, Neymar, Fred. Spain: Iker Casillas, Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez, Fernando Torres, Pedro Rodriguez, Juan Mata, Sergio Ramos, Sergio Busquets, Alvaro Arbeloa, Jordi Alba.



The number of protesters near the Maracana stadium has grown to about 10,000, reports AP’s Jenny Barchfield. “Shopkeepers at the rare stores open on Sunday have pulled down gratings as the crowd passes. Helicopters hover overhead. Local residents lean out of apartment windows, filming the march with smartphones and video cameras,” she says. Inside the stadium, it’s a sea of yellow. With an hour to go before Brazil and Spain take the field for the Confederations Cup final, thousands of fans _ almost all of them wearing yellow _ have packed into the stadium and are dancing to the closing ceremony music. There are a few red Spain shirts scattered around the iconic venue, but there’s no doubt Brazil is the home team for this match.



With more than an hour until the Confederations Cup final starts and under darkening skies, the closing ceremony has started with dozens of people dancing on the field in the Maracana Stadium under football-like costumes. There’s a carnival-like celebration on the pitch and the city’s famous drums, hundreds of them, are creating a rumbling bass as dancers entertain the Brazilian crowd.



Brazil’s players are on their team bus and headed to the Maracana Stadium for the Confederations Cup final. Brazil has won all four of its matches at the World Cup warm-up tournament, but will have to beat world champion Spain to win their fourth title at the event. The match is scheduled to start in about two hours.



The so far peaceful gathering at the Saenz Pena plaza near central Rio is going mobile _ and immobile. Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets around the plaza, with many sitting down to block traffic. AP’s Stephen Wade says there is no violence yet, but the demonstrators are becoming more animated, with several already wearing gas masks in anticipation of police retaliation. Many of them are singing anti-government and anti-FIFA chants. The Confederations Cup final at the nearby Maracana Stadium is still about two hours away from kickoff.



With fears of violence ever present, the scene at the Saenz Pena plaza near central Rio is more like a party right now. There are still three hours to go before Brazil and Spain kick off the Confederations Cup final, and vendors are out selling beer to the gathering of demonstrators. Among the signs from the disenchanted: “FIFA, get out of here.” Many of the protesters are angry that the Brazilian government is spending billions on next year’s World Cup and the 2016 Olympics while health services and education continue to be underfunded.



Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon made three saves in the penalty shootout to help his team beat Uruguay in the third-place match for the Confederations Cup. The match was tied at 2-2 after extra time, and Italy won the shootout 3-2. Buffon saved penalties from Diego Forlan, Martin Caceres and Walter Gargano. Alberto Aquilani, Stephan El Shaarawy and Emanuele Giaccherini scored in the shootout for Italy, while Mattia De Sciglio’s effort was saved. Edinson Cavani, who scored both of Uruguay’s goals in the match, scored one of the shootout penalties while Luis Suarez added the other.



Tied 2-2 in the third-place match for the Confederations Cup after extra time, Uruguay and Italy are headed to penalties. Each team will pick five players to take the spot kicks, but more will then come forward if the score is still even.



Italy midfielder Riccardo Montolivo was sent off in extra time with a second yellow card in the third-place match of the Confederations Cup. Uruguay and Italy are tied at 2-2 in Salvador, Brazil.



Besides the protesters, there are also football fans heading to the Maracana Stadium for Sunday’s Confederations Cup final between Brazil and Spain. And those arriving at the stadium’s main entrance are being met by some elite police units and military vehicles as the fans create a festive scene with Brazilian flags waving in the air. Instead of corruption and health care issues, 23-year-old teacher Vinicius Martins tells AP’s Tales Azzoni that he is looking forward to the match. “It’s a world classic. Nobody wants to miss this one,” Martins said. “We know it’s not going to be easy for Brazil against the world champions, but we came to see the `Selecao’ celebrating when it’s all over.”



The third-place match at the Confederations Cup has gone to extra time. Edinson Cavani twice equalized for Uruguay, putting the 2010 World Cup semifinalists even at 2-2 against Italy in Salvador. Davide Astori and Alessandro Diamanti scored the goals for the Italians. Extra time will consist of two 15-minute halves. If the teams are still tied at the end, they will go to penalty kicks.



With about four hours to go before the Confederations Cup final, protesters near the Maracana Stadium have remained calm but vocal about their demands. One of them, 31-year-old history professor Tatiana Poggi, has a message for the thousands and thousands of fans planning to come to Brazil for next year’s World Cup: “Boycott the big event.” Poggi tells AP’s Rob Harris that the people of Brazil have reasons to protest, highlighting corruption, spending on the World Cup, health care and education. “The World Cup is one big government propaganda project. It won’t boost the economy,” Poggi said. “Our transport is not improving, our health care is not improving.”



Edinson Cavani scored another equalizer for Uruguay, making it 2-2 against Italy in the third-place match for the Confederations Cup. Cavani scored straight from a free kick in the 78th minute, only five minutes after Alessandro Diamanti had given Italy the lead, also from a free kick.



Alessandro Diamanti gets a goal after all. The Italy midfielder curled in a free kick in the 73rd minute to give his team a 2-1 lead over Uruguay in the third-place match for the Confederations Cup. Diamanti was orginially credited with the first goal of the match, a free kick that hit the post but then went into the net off the back of Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera. That goal was later awarded to Davide Astori, who had made sure of the goal near the far post.


Edinson Cavani scores for Uruguay to make it 1-1 against Italy in the third-place match at the Confederations Cup. The Napoli forward side-footed in a pass from Luis Suarez in the 58th minute at the Arena Forte Nova in Salvador. Suarez was booked moment later for a foul.



The halftime whistle has blown in Salvador, with Italy still leading Uruguay 1-0 in the third-place match for the Confederations Cup. The goal, however, has now been credited to Davide Astori. The ball appeared to go into the net off the back of Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera after a free kick from Alessandro Diamanti had hit the post in the 24th minute. Diamanti was originally named as the scorer, but the FIFA website now says it was Astori.



Mariela Simao, a 22-year-old biotechnology student who lives near the Maracana Stadium, has decided to sit this one out _ both Sunday’s protest and the Confederations Cup final. Simao, who first took the streets about two weeks ago when many local Brazilians let their rage spill over into violence while calling for government reforms, tells AP’s Rob Harris that she is staying behind this time because she is afraid of the police. “They are not only looking at the people doing bad stuff, breaking windows, they are shooting everyone indiscriminately,” Simao said of police firing rubber bullets and tear gas. She also said she loves football and supports Brazil’s national team, which will be facing Spain in the final of the World Cup warm-up tournament, but she is now more concerned about other problems in the country. “I hope they are champions,” Simao said, “but the country needed to invest in a lot of things before bringing the World Cup here - hospitals, schools.”


Italy has taken a 1-0 lead over Uruguay in the third-place match in Salvador. Alessandro Diamanti sent in a free kick that hit the post and then bounced in off the back of Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera. Italy defender Davide Astori made sure it was a goal, but the ball looked like it had already crossed the line before he got a foot to it.



Protesters marching toward the stadium ahead of the final have been stopped on Avenida do Maracana by a battalion of military police carrying shields, says AP’s Jenny Barchfield. There are also bus loads of police reinforcements nearby in case of violence. Standing in front of a line of police and yelling at them is a middle-aged woman with a T-shirt that says “Grandma.” Protesters have taken to the streets all over Brazil in the past two weeks, calling for a wide-range of reforms. Some of their ire has been targeted at the high cost of staging next year’s World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.



The match for third place at the Confederations Cup has started, with South American champion Uruguay playing Italy at the Arena Forte Nova in Salvador. Uruguay lost to Brazil in the semifinals, and Italy was beaten by Spain in a penalty shootout. Cesare Prandelli, the coach of Italy, has complained about the third-place match, calling for FIFA to review whether it’s needed. The Italians are upset because they have had only two days to rest since Thursday’s draining loss, while Uruguay last played on Wednesday. Another cause of contention is the start time. The third-place match is the only game of this year’s tournament to start at 1 p.m., when it can be quite warm in Brazil — especially up north in Salvador.



Brazilian police told AP’s Tales Azzoni that they would allow people to protest outside the Maracana Stadium as long as they kept their demonstrations peaceful. People without tickets usually are not allowed near the venue in FIFA tournaments, but the Maracana sits in a crowded Rio neighborhood and authorities said they would not keep local residents away from the venue. A few civil law enforcement officers and an elite police unit were in front of the main entrance, so far just watching the demonstrators. A handful of people were calling for attention to human trafficking, and others complained of poor conditions at Rio de Janeiro hospitals. “We want better conditions in the health services in Rio,” said 59-year-old Geralda Ramos, who works at a local hospital. “We need to speak up because the government is not paying attention to us. We need better salaries and better equipment to be able to treat our people.”



A crowd of protesters has started to make its way from Saenz Pena, a square not far from central Rio, and is heading for the Maracana, says Barchfield. Once they get near the stadium, they’ll find officers in riot gear and tanks awaiting them. If there is going to be a violent standoff, it’s likely to occur there.



The Confederations Cup has been marred by violent anti-government protests, partly aimed at the high cost of staging next year’s World Cup. More are expected for the final day of the Confederations Cup, but no one is quite sure how big they will be. Several thousand police have been put on alert, but as of noon in Rio, only a few hundred people had gathered in the center of the city, according to Barchfield. Outside the Maracana Stadium, a handful of protesters held banners saying, “How much is silence worth?”



The clouds hovering over Rio de Janeiro haven’t darkened the mood ahead of Sunday’s Confederations Cup final between Brazil and Spain. The Brazilian fans are already out on the streets in force, many wearing the team’s traditional yellow colors. In the country that will host next year’s World Cup, football is a serious event, and the match against world champion Spain is going to be one to remember. Brazil’s national team has been in a rebuilding phase under coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, the same man who led the team to its fifth and last World Cup title in 2002. But the team has so far met Scolari’s expectations, winning all four of its matches to reach the final. Spain made it through by beating Italy in a penalty shootout in the semifinals, and could even be considered the underdog for the match since it will be played at the Maracana Stadium, Brazil’s most renowned football venue.

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