Brazil has Spain on its mind at Confederations Cup

Neymar scored three minutes into the Confederations Cup.
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

FORTALEZA, Brazil (AP) -- Only one game into the Confederations Cup, Brazil is already talking about a possible matchup with Spain.

A day after the Spaniards enjoyed an easy victory over Uruguay in its opener, the Brazilian players couldn't avoid talking about the World Cup champions.

Brazil and Spain first need to make sure they advance to the second round of the Confederations Cup, but Real Madrid left back Marcelo said it would be a "great match'' if the teams end up playing each other in the World Cup warm-up competition.

Defensive midfielder Luiz Gustavo, who helped Bayern Munich eliminate Barcelona in the semifinals of the Champions League earlier this year, even tried to offer some tips on how to play Spain.

Brazil, which hasn't faced Spain in nearly 14 years, opened with a convincing 3-1 win over Japan on Saturday. Its next match is against Mexico, then it closes Group A against Italy.

"We are not worried,'' Marcelo said. "We haven't played against them in a long time, but if we have to play them, it won't be a problem. We have to be prepared to play everybody and it won't be different if it's against them.''

Spain is in Group B, so the teams can meet either in a semifinal or in a final if they advance past the group stage of the eight-nation tournament among continental champions. Spain defeated Uruguay 2-1 on Sunday.

"It's not like Spain has already reached the final and is just waiting for us, the tournament has just started,'' Marcelo said. "We still have to play against Mexico and Italy. But if we do play them, I'm sure that it could be a great match.''

Spain will play Tahiti on Thursday, then closes the group against Nigeria on Sunday.

The last time Brazil and Spain met was in 1999 in a friendly in Spain that ended in a scoreless draw. In eight matches between the countries' senior squads, Brazil have won four times and Spain two. The teams drew twice.

"We are talking about two national teams with a lot of quality,'' Luiz Gustavo said. "But to reach our goal of making it to the final we need to get past all these national teams, not only Spain.''

In the Champions League, Luiz Gustavo played twice against Barcelona, which has nine players in the Spanish squad that is playing at the Confederations Cup.

"There's no recipe,'' the 25-year-old Brazilian said when asked about how to stop the Spaniards. "You have to be careful and you need the entire group to be united, motivated and committed. Spain has its own style and we have ours. The team which does a better job on the pitch will win.''

Brazil had its first practice in the northeastern city of Fortaleza on Monday.

The squad was greeted by nearly 8,000 fans at the President Vargas stadium. Although the fans were only allowed to enter the venue after the training session was completed, they showed their support and chanted the names of several players. The entire team took time to greet the fans.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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