Luis Fabiano scored two of the goals and Lucio added the third in the 84th minute to give Brazil its second straight Confederations Cup title and third overall.
But it was all looking good for the Americans, playing in the men’s final of a FIFA tournament for the first time, in the first half when Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan gave the team a 2-0 halftime lead.
“You realize why these guys are worth so much at times like this, but it’s still disappointing,” Donovan said. “We are in the position where we don’t want respect, we want to win.”
Brazil really did look like a beaten team in the first 45 minutes, creating little and being constantly stymied by the United States defense and goalkeeper Tim Howard. During that time, the American attack was stretching the nervous-looking Brazil defense, with Donovan working hard to give his team several scoring chances.
Although that quality play managed to give the Americans a hefty lead, Brazil was not about to let yet another title slip by.
“At halftime, we said there was something lacking, some lack of positioning,” Brazil coach Dunga said through a translator.
Luis Fabiano started the comeback in the 46th minute. The striker collected a pass from Ramires before turning and shooting past defender Jay DeMerit for his fourth goal of the tournament. He added a tournament-leading fifth to equalize in the 74th, heading in a rebound after Kaka’s cross was kicked against the crossbar by Robinho.
“We gave up the first goal so early in second half,” U.S. coach Bob Bradley said.
Brazil 0 3—3
United States 2 0—2
1, United States, Dempsey 3 (Spector), 10th minute. 2, United States, Donovan 2 (Davies), 27th minute.
3, Brazil, Luis Fabiano 4, 46th minute. 4, Brazil, Luis Fabiano 5, 74th minute. 5, Brazil, Lucio 1 (Elano), 84th minute.
Yellow Cards—Bocanegra, US, 19th; Melo, Bra, 25th; Santos, Bra, 36th; Lucio, Bra, 70th. Red Cards—None.
Brazil—Julio Cesar; Andre Santos (Daniel Alves, 66), Luisao, Lucio, Maicon; Felipe Melo, Gilberto Silva, Ramires (Elano, 67), Kaka; Robinho, Luis Fabiano
United States—Tim Howard; Carlos Bocanegra, Jay DeMerit, Oguchi Onyewu, Jonathan Spector; Benny Feilhaber (Sacha Klejstan, 75), Ricardo Clark (Conor Casey, 88), Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan; Charlie Davies, Jozy Altidore (Jonathan Bornstein, 75).