RIO DE JANEIRO — Fred scored two goals and Neymar added another as host Brazil convincingly defeated world champion Spain 3-0 to win the Confederations Cup on Sunday as protesters clashed with riot police outside the Maracana Stadium.
Fred put Brazil on the board less than two minutes into the match, Neymar added to the lead just before halftime and Fred netted his fifth goal in five matches early in the second half to give Brazil victory. The win for the host nation was surprisingly easy against the current world champion.
Sergio Ramos missed a penalty kick for Spain in the 55th, sending his low shot wide.
Spain defender Gerard Pique was sent off with a straight red card for fouling Neymar in the 68th.
Brazil came in hoping a victory would help it regain its status as a global powerhouse after recent struggles. Brazil was eliminated in the quarterfinals in the last two World Cups and hadn’t won a significant title since the 2009 Confederations Cup in South Africa.
The title gives Brazilian fans hope that the five-time world champions have a chance to win the World Cup title next year, although no Confederations Cup champion has ever won football’s showcase event the following year.
“The champion is back,” chanted the crowd of more than 73,000 people at the renovated Maracana.
It also didn’t take long before the fans — in a sea of yellow jerseys — started teasing the Spaniards, chanting “Wanna play, wanna play!? Brazil will teach you.”
The Brazilian players huddled after the final whistle and started singing and jumping, then went toward the crowd near the sidelines and began celebrating. David Luiz kneeled down and raised both of his hands into the air.
The result ended Spain’s 26-match unbeaten streak. It hadn’t lost since a 1-0 result England in a friendly in London in 2011. Its last loss in an official competition had happened 29 matches ago, in the 2010 World Cup opener against Switzerland.