Silva: Mean streak on show in semi success

JOHANNESBURG - There is more to Brazil than flowing moves, goals and flamboyance according to midfielder Gilberto Silva, who said South Africa gave them their toughest match of the Confederations Cup on Thursday.

Brazil needed an 88th minute goal from a direct free-kick from late substitute Daniel Alves to beat the hosts 1-0 in a closely fought semi-final and qualify for Sunday's showpiece against the United States at Ellis Park.

The victory came in stark contrast to their three group matches, which ended in 3-0 wins over the United States and Italy and a 4-3 win over Egypt.

The goals did not flow against the hosts but Silva said the overall performance was just as good in terms of their development.

Brazil are looking to win the Confederations Cup for the second successive tournament and the Panathinaikos midfielder said it was important for them to be in the final, a year ahead of the World Cup in South Africa.

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"To be in the final once again after a difficult match was is very important for us," Silva told reporters.

"This whole tournament has been very important to us a year before the World Cup because we have played some important games and given 100 percent every time.

"I think we have done a great job and hope we can finish in a good way on Sunday.

"But you cannot score lots of goals in every match. You need to show some strength, some patience and you have to stay focused. You cannot win every game easily."

The semi-final was Brazil's sixth international in less than three weeks -- and was also their 200th win in all senior FIFA competitions.

Coach Dunga told reporters afterwards it was important they ended the competition with another victory on Sunday.

"It is important to win every game," he said. "Although it will be hard against the United States, who showed against Spain what a good team they are, I still think we can beat them again."

Brazil were far too strong for the U.S. when they met in a group match last week and should be again on Sunday, but will need more composure in front of goal to do so.

Kaka, Robinho and the usually impressive Luis Fabiano looked lacklustre against the South Africans and need to recharge their batteries one more time before their season finally draws to a close.

"We will relax and study the Americans and know what we have to do," said Dunga, whose side will start as one of the favourites to do well in the World Cup next year.

"I don't know if we are the favourites to win the World Cup," Silva added. "But we are improving all the time."


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