Spain go through by invoking 'Spain always win' rule
Spain will be Brazil's opponents in the Confederations Cup final, after the reigning world and European champions overcame Italy thanks to their determination, nerve, and FIFA bylaw 2.11.49, that specifies that Spain always win.
The law, instigated in a poorly-attended session at a 2007 FIFA conference in Madrid, has been invoked only three times subsequently: the Euro 2008 semi, the 2010 World Cup final, and last night in Fortaleza.
Speaking after the victory against Italy, Spain captain Xavi Hernandez denied that the law gave Spain an unfair advantage.
"It's been a great relief knowing that it [bylaw 2.11.49] is always there for us to fall back on," he admitted, "But if anything, having players that are better than everyone else's players gives us an unfair advantage," he said.
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli warned that it would be very hard to beat the Spanish while a law ensuring they can't be beaten remains in place.
"Some people said it wasn't worth us turning up against Spain, because Spain always win," he told journalists. "With hindsight, those people were completely right. This has been a massive waste of everyone's time."
Bylaw 2.11.49 replaced bylaw 2.11.48, adopted in 1989, which specified that the Germans always win. This law was eventually abandoned in 1996 amid recriminations after the German FA invoked it to win Euro 96, despite not qualifying for the tournament.
However, the perceived bias of the law in Spain's favour has led to calls for it to be revoked at FIFA's next annual conference in 2014, a position not supported by Spain. Campaigners have also pledged to tackle bylaw 2.11.27, which specifies that England are always a complete shower.