By Mark Bennett
Two goals from FC Internazionale Milano striker Adriano helped Brazil lift the FIFA Confederations Cup with an impressive 4-1 win against South American rivals Argentina, while hosts Germany finished third in the tournament thanks to a dramatic victory against Mexico.
In the final at the Waldstadion in Frankfurt, Adriano was the outstanding player on the pitch, and broke the deadlock in the eleventh minute with a fierce left-footed shot from outside the penalty area. Five minutes later, AC Milan's Kaká beat Argentina goalkeeper Germán Lux from a similar distance to double Brazil's lead.
The match was effectively over two minutes into the second half as FC Barcelona playmaker Ronaldinho volleyed in from close range before Adriano claimed his second and the FIFA World Cup holders' fourth of the night, meeting a perfect cross from Cicinho with a powerful downward header - a goal that made the Inter man the competition's top scorer with five strikes. Argentina did pull one back thanks to Pablo Aimar's diving header, but Brazil's success had long since been assured.
In the third-place play-off, an extra-time effort from Michael Ballack decided a seven-goal thriller between Germany and Mexico. The captain's 97th-minute free-kick finally settled a topsy-turvy encounter that Germany led three times only to be pegged back by the central American side on each occasion.
Jürgen Klinsmann's men went ahead eight minutes before half-time, Sebastian Deisler and Bastian Schweinsteiger creating the chance for Lukas Podolski to shoot in from the edge of the box. The advantage lasted just three minutes, however, José Fonseca racing on to Zinha's pass and outwitting Oliver Kahn to equalise.
A minute later Germany regained the initiative with a delightful goal, Andreas Hinkel breaking down the right and exchanging passes with Podolski before squaring for the unmarked Schweinsteiger to tap in at the far post. Nine minutes after the restart, Germany lost Mike Hanke to a red card after a late challenge on Carlos Salcido and the visitors quickly capitalised on their numerical advantage, Jared Borgetti equalising within four minutes.
Germany looked to have secured victory with eleven minutes left as Robert Huth forced in Schweinsteiger's corner from close range, but six minutes later Borgetti registered again to send the game into an additional 30 minutes. However, Ballack sealed the win, and third place, with a delicate effort beyond Mexico keeper Oswaldo Sánchez.
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