RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilians aren't hiding how much they admire Spain's national team, how good the World Champions are and how difficult it is to play against them.
But make no mistake, they say, that doesn't mean they'll fear Spain when the teams meet in the Confederations Cup final on Sunday at the Maracana.
In a match everyone has been hoping to see, the hosts will be trying to win their third-straight title in the World Cup warm-up competition, and fourth overall, while Spain will be looking for its fourth major trophy in five years.
Nearly every Brazilian player who has talked about Spain has praised the world and European champion, acknowledging that it's the best team in the world today. But they guarantee Brazil will be ready to make the home fans proud.
"We just have to play football, we can't be afraid," Brazil striker Neymar said Friday. "We know Spain is the best team in the world and that they have the best players in the world. We respect them and I admire them a lot, but when the match starts we have full confidence that we can play well to beat them and win the title for our fans."
Brazil and Spain haven't played since a 1999 scoreless draw in a friendly.
"It's tough to wait for a match like this," Neymar said. "I wish we could be playing it tomorrow."
Brazil won its fifth World Cup title in 2002, but recently it's Spain which has been the dominant team in international football, capturing the last two European championships and the 2010 World Cup.