JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - Barcelona defender Daniel Alves spared Brazil's blushes as his late goal earned the five time world champions a 1-0 win over spirited South Africa here Thursday to book their place in the Confederations Cup final.
This semi-final against the hosts was heading for extra time until Alves, in an inspired move by coach Dunga, replaced Andre Santos and broke the stalemate with a curling free kick in the 88th minute.
Explaining his master move Dunga said: "We knew it was going to be difficult, we knew South Africa were going to attack, to defend and counter attack.
"The game was very tight so I sent on an aggressive player (Alves) who is very quick and a specialist in set pieces, he practices set pieces every day.
"We had to make use of any opportunity that came our way so a foul in fornt of goal was perfect for us."
Brazil now face the United States in Sunday's final with South Africa heading to Rustenburg for the third place play-off with Spain.
"I think we played very well against a team recognised as one of the best in world and even surprised Brazil. I'm very proud," said Brazil-born South Africa coach Joel Santana.
"It seemed as though it would be 0-0 but then Brazil had the set piece relying on its experience placing three players in our wall to make it difficult for our keeper.
"We showed we were able to hold our own. Now we have another year to prepare for the World Cup."
South Africa were without suspended midfielder Macbeth Sibaya, his place taken by Siphiwe Tshabalala, while Brazil midfielder Luisao started for injured Juan.
The two adversaries made it into the last four in wildly contrasting ways - Brazil sauntering through as Group B leaders with maximum points, South Africa edging through on goal difference as Group A runners-up.
With President Jacob Zuma watching, about the only one of the 48,000 fans not blowing into a vuvuzela, South Africa made a promising start as they fought to make their first final since the 1996 African Nations Cup.
Against the run of play Itumelang Khune was forced into action to save a Ramires effort while shortly after his counterpart Julio Cesar was in full flight to cover a long range effort from speedy defender Siboniso Gaxa.
South Africa were giving as good as they got as Brazil tried to work the ball repeatedly down the left flank using Inter Milan back Maicon as the key link.
On 21 minutes they should have scored only for Tshabalala's header off a freekick to go high.
As the half hour beckoned the Kaizer Chiefs midfielder unleashed a carefully constructed 30 metre freekick with only Cesar's palm preventing the hosts taking the lead.
Down at the other end Khune safely held onto Andre Santos' volley.
Kaka produced his first bit of magic as he darted through the South African defence but the Real Madrid forward's curving shot drifted wide of the far post.
Brazil were fortunate not to go into the break trailing as Steven Pienaar had Cesar beaten with his stinging 35 metre shot from the right but the status quo was upheld when the ball edged wide.
The holders were not at their brilliant best against a South African side that were scampering after every ball as if their lives depended on it.
On the hour, with Dunga looking on pensively, Teko Modise's close range shot deflected off Luisao before hitting the beaten Cesar's right post in a period of domination from Joel Santana's side.
With eight minutes left and as extra time loomed Dunga introduced Alves into the fray and the Barcelona defender repaid the confidence when he beat the Bafana Bafana wall with a thundering freekick two minutes from time.
for André Santos 82'
for Luís Fabiano 90'
|Del Bosque frustrated by friendly defeat|
|Bradford City 0 Chesterfield 1: Harrison strike moves visitors into play-off places|
|Portugal 0 Cape Verde 2: Hosts suffer shock friendly defeat|
|Townsend takes swipe at TV pundit Merson|
|Plane issue grounds England squad|
|Israel 0 Belgium 1: Fellaini nets again as Kompany sees red|
|N´Koulou returns to full Marseille training|
|Netherlands 2 Spain 0: Hosts ease pressure on Hiddink|
|Italy 1 England 1: Townsend leveller rescues draw|
|Ghana 1 Mali 1: Sako spot-kick denies Black Stars|
|Luxembourg 1 Turkey 2: Calhanoglu stakes claim with late winner|
|Ghana 1-1 Mali: Sako spot-kick denies Black Stars|
|Italy 1-1 England: Townsend rocket earns draw for Three Lions|
|Rummenigge marvels at ´genius´ Guardiola|
|Switzerland 1 United States 1: Stocker seals draw after Altidore red|
|Young players should not need a break, says Dyche|
|Tottenham acquire final piece of land for new stadium|
|Portugal 0-2 Cape Verde Islands: African minnows claim historic victory|
|Netherlands 2-0 Spain: Rejuvenated Dutch ease pressure on Hiddink|
|Switzerland 1-1 USA: Altidore sent off in friendly draw|
|Palestinian FA speaks out against Israel-Belgium venue selection|
|Valdes enjoying football again after injury nightmare|
|Emotional Cha retires ´a happy man´|
|Dortmund´s Kirch suffers knee injury|
|Newcastle need to be mentally prepared, says Williamson|
|Leno ´knows nothing´ of Real interest|
|Tunisia to compete in AFCON after apology|
|Van der Vaart not allowing future to affect his game|
|Vlaar: Sherwood has reduced stress levels|
|Roma hit by Gervinho hamstring blow|
|Jones optimistic over Everton´s strike partnership|
|Milik sustains knee ligament damage|
|Georgia fear stadium closure for Scotland clash|
|Zamparini: Juventus and Arsenal have bid for Dybala|
|South Korea 1 New Zealand 0: Lee nets late winner|
|Japan 5 Uzbekistan 1: Five-star hosts maintain Halilhodzic start|
|European clubs benefit from UEFA agreement|
|Vassell: Sky is the limit for Kane|
|Manchester United move would be an ´honour´ for Coentrao|
|Insigne out to bolster Napoli season after lay-off|
|Rooney warns Kane over ´clever´ Italy defenders|
|Rangers results reveal £500,000 Newcastle clause|
|Southampton announce £33.4m profit|
|´I am a very flexible man´ - Van Gaal|
|A-League Preview: Top spot up for grabs|
|Portugal - Cape Verde Preview: Andre and Oliveira eager for international bows|
|Puerto Rico 0 Canada 3: Floro´s men rout hosts|
|Xavi denies Al Sadd link|
|Fernando´s life ban upheld by CAS|
|Argentina - Ecuador Preview: Messi remains doubtful for friendly|
|Falcao equals Colombia´s all-time scoring record|
|Macedonia trip good learning curve - Postecoglou|
|Macedonia 0 Australia 0: Stalemate in Skopje|
|Del Bosque not out for Netherlands revenge|
|Burton Albion 1 Stevenage 1: Both teams score at wrong end in draw|
|Pekerman: I have no say on Falcao´s Manchester United future|
|Buffon has studied England new boy Kane|
|Conte urges patience from Italy fans|
|Johnson tasked with keeping Cheltenham up|
|Rooney not keen on Serie A switch|
|Kane to make first England start|
|Colombia 3 Kuwait 1: Spot-on Falcao equals Iguaran record|
|Goal-shy Barkley eyes striker´s role|
|UEFA opens disciplinary proceedings against Montenegro and Russia|
|Draxler and Choupo-Moting back in training|
|Ghana v Mali: Last chance to impress before Giresse return|
|Wilson: Gibraltar getting stronger|
|Mata confident of Spain future|
|Armenia coach Challandes resigns|
|Hiddink rubbishes talk of Dutch negativity|
|Portugal v Cape Verde: Santos set to rotate|
|Loren hails Moyes for Sociedad surge|
|Cruyff brands Netherlands ´a disgrace´|
|Kick It Out backs Barnes over race comments|
|Argentina v Ecuador: Messi remains doubtful for friendly|
|Coates backs Hughes ambition at Stoke|
|Atletico able to call on Saul again|
|Italy v England Preview: Kane set to start after dream debut|
|Zidane would accept Real job|
|Hernandez frustrated by lack of Real opportunities|
|Spartak donate money to 102-year-old fan after robbery|
|Clasie pulls out of Netherlands squad|
|Italy´s Bertolacci out of England friendly|
|Newcastle post record profit as Ashley debt stays the same|
|Al Sadd: We want Xavi to bring tiki-taka|
|Lacazette expected frosty Saint-Etienne reception|
|Barnes: I can´t get back into management because I´m black|
|Rooney praises England aggression|
|Southgate tips Kane for return to U21s|
|Mexico v Paraguay: Goals in order for Copa America aspirants|
|Netherlands - Spain Preview: Wijnaldum rallies behind under-fire Hiddink|
|Peru v Venezuela: Sanvicente wants Venezuelan response|
|Carvalho confident of playing Juventus|
|Neymar demands protection after Medel stamp|
|MLS Review: RSL, Fire secure breakthrough wins|
|Firmino firmly on radar - Dunga|