The 2013 Confederations Cup saw Brazil turn the promise of youth and potential into current dominance, and Neymar has been the face of it all.
With an array of unique hairdos and a flashy on-pitch style all of his own, Neymar has been custom made for stardom. He has certainly had the talent. However, he hadn't had the results on the biggest of stages to warrant it.
Leading up to the Confederations Cup, Neymar and Brazil had been slogging through inconsistent, lackluster and shockingly boring results. In fact, Brazil entered that tournament sitting in a pedestrian 22nd in the world rankings. A position far lower than the soccer-rich nation is used to.
Supporters of the team were getting restless, and in matches leading up to the Confederations Cup, A Selecao were being boo'd by their own fans.
How far in that past that all seems now.
Brazil overwhelmingly proved to be the class of the Confederations Cup, and they capped it all off in the championship match by humiliating the reigning king of the soccer world, Spain, 3-0.
At the center of it all was the man pegged to be the future of Brazil soccer: Neymar.
He was outstanding from the start of this tournament. He wound up with four goals in Brazil's five matches in the tournament, and he seemed to be in the center of almost every good offensive play.
He was voted Man of the Match for Brazil's first three games, was again excellent in the semifinal win over Uruguay, and then took home Man of the Match honors in the championship contest. Not surprisingly, this led to Neymar winning the Golden Ball award for the tournament.
Neymar wasted no time announcing his arrival on the international stage in this tournament. It was just three minutes into Brazil's opening game against Japan when he netted this spectacular goal:
He would continue to make spectacular and dazzling plays as the tournament progressed, and Brazil's attack began to flourish.
In the four matches leading up to the championship, Brazil had tallied 11 goals on 37 shots. And they did that while not playing a game against a Tahiti team that was handing out goals to opponents like that was the aim of the game.
In the championship match, Brazil's offense rolled over a stingy Spain squad. It took just two minutes for Fred to notch the match's opening score. It was a miraculous play and shocking result:
Brazil finished the match with 14 shots, according to ESPN, with seven of those being on target. It was a dominant performance against a Spain squad that rarely allows their opponent possession let alone 14 shots or three goals.
In fact, Brazil scored three times more goals in that one match than Spain had allowed all tournament.
Neymar isn't the only reason for Brazil's offensive prowess, but he is at the center of it. He commands the most attention from the defense and his vision and creativity lead to shots for he and his teammates. Lined up along side Fred, Brazil can score in a hurry, and as they showed against Spain, they can do so against anyone.
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