Unlike the last Confederations Cup, where the United States threw a massive wrench into proceedings, the two favorites have advanced to the final of the 2013 Confederations Cup. World Cup and European champions Spain will take on hosts Brazil, who have vastly improved since the appointment of new manager Luiz Felipe Scolari.
Spain breezed through the group stage, never facing a legitimate challenge from their opponents, but they were poor in the semifinal against Italy. For most of the match, they struggled to create chances and moved the ball slowly while Italy looked extremely quick and dangerous on the counter. However, they had the fresher legs in extra time and went on to win on penalties.
Brazil had an easier time in their semifinal, though they certainly didn't breeze through. Fred scored before the end of the first half, but Uruguay defended well for most of the match and capitalized on a defensive mistake to score an equalizer just after the break. The match appeared to be headed for extra time, but Paulinho netted a winner for his country in the 86th minute, nodding in a corner.
Both teams have clean bills of health and the ability to make changes to their teams. Despite calls for Hulk to be pulled in favor of Bernard or Lucas Moura, Scolari has stuck with him. Spain are likely to make some changes with Cesc Fabregas and Roberto Soldado returning from slight injuries. Both should be in contention to start.
Match date/time: Sunday, 6 p.m. ET
Venue: Maracana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
TV: ESPN (U.S. - English), Univision (U.S. - Spanish), BBC One (U.K.), CBC (Canada - English), TLN (Canada - Spanish), Globo (Brazil), TeleCinco (Spain)
Online: Watch ESPN (U.S.), CBC Sports Online (Canada)