Brazil Confederations Cup 2013: Brazil Advances to Final

This was one you couldn't miss. Brazil's 2-1 edge of continental rival Uruguay sent the home team to the finals, where it will see Italy or Spain in an effort to claim its third straight Confederations Cup. You can expect the Maracana to be nothing less than a madhouse for Sunday.

Uruguay had an early chance to make a statement, but Diego Forlan's penalty was saved by Brazilian keeper Julio Cesar. Forlan was tugged down to the ground by David Luiz, and Cesar's athletic left-handed tip whipped the crowd into an even louder frenzy.

Both sides struggled to maintain possession through much of the first half, but Brazil cracked the scoreboard first as time came to a close, with Paulinho lobbing a pass to Neymar in the box and firing a shot that would be cleaned up by Fred. The finish made things 1-0 at the break.

Uruguay responded quickly after halftime, where Luis Suarez pushed through the Brazilian box and Edinson Cavani drilled an equalizer. Neither side could capitalize on the shifting momentum until the match's dying minutes, where Neymar sent a corner to the back post that was headed in by Paulinho past keeper Fernando Muslera for the final advantage. After the goal at 86', Brazil held in to the bellowing cheers of its home fans to advance to the final.

Italy and Spain square off Thursday for the right to see Brazil Sunday. That rematch of 2012's UEFA final will be without Mario Balotelli, the Italian star sidelined with a strained thigh.

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Steven Goldstein

New York native, junior at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. I'm a beat writer for FOX Sports Next's Purple Wildcats, a Scout.com coverage site. I'm also a featured columnist at Bleacher Report, a top national sports destination, and a contributor to HipHopDX, TD Daily and KevinNottingham.com. I'm a freelancer for Liberty Mutual's Coach of the Year award in college football. I was an intern at PolicyMic's Manhattan office for the summer of 2013.

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