Sunday, June 29, 2014

World Cup 2014 : Brazil vs Chile 1-1 ( 3-2 via penalties)

The first of the knock outs & what a match it was. Brazlian coach Scolari was always wary of Chile & his premonitions came almost so true....Chile had all but spoilt the Cup dreams of Brazil today.
The match was well contested as expected & both sides had enough chances to surge ahead. The ball ball moved swiftly between both ends, & it was Brazil taking the lead in the 18th minute when T Silva headed from a Neymar corner to David Luiz, who nudged the ball in with his thigh....not the best of the goals but a goal indeed, in this pressure match.... Brazil up 1-0. It was David Liz's first international goal for his country...indeed a proud moment. This immediately got the team in yellow to come up in numbers & the Chilean box was flooded with Brazilian attacks... Neymar'r header missed narrowly & a Dani Alves long ranger was just about fisted out by Bravo. Just as it looked that Brazil will dominate the match, Marcelo gave away a loose ball off a throw in around the left flank of the Brazilian half. David Liuz was surprisingly sluggish to react & Alexei Sanchez pounced on the ball & his deft placement went beyond Cesar into the net...1-1 & match on.
Second half was equally well contested & this time Hulk tried his best to score & Bravo scripted a couple of wonderful saves to keep Chile in the match. In the 53rd minute Hulk put the ball in the net from a beautiful cross, & ran down the sidelines in celebrations as the stadium erupted. But the English referee disallowed the goal & showed a yellow card to Hulk, as he had probably handled the ball while receiving the cross....slow motion replays looked like a debatable decision, as he had probably shouldered the ball & that too not deliberately. Immediately after that, against the run of play, Aranguiz, playing a wall pass with Vidal & Sanchez entered the Brazilian box & hit a low powerful drive which looked all set for a goal. But Cesar made an acrobatic save for a corner...Brazil fans had their heart in the mouth...a goal at this stage would be hard to equalise. Both teams from there on played with caution & the game started to lose its sheen.
Extra time of 15 + 15 minutes did not produce any goals & Brazil breathed a huge sigh of relief in the 88th minute, as Pinilia's shot hit the crossbar & returned into play, with the whole of the Brazilian defense looking dead. It was left to penalty shoot out for results ....the first of the tournament. Both the team looked sapped of energy & looked for some divine intervention. Bravo, the Chilean keeper looked more organised as Julio Cesar, the Brazilian keeper looked emotionally charged.

Shoot outs are always half luck & half pluck :

Brazil started with David Luiz who coolly placed the ball in the net - ( Brazil 1 - Chile 0)
Pinilla fired for Chile, but was brilliantly blocked by Cesar - ( Brazil 1 - Chile 0)
Willian came next for Brazil, but his shot went wide out - ( Brazil 1 - Chile 0)
Alexie Sanchez was next for Chile, but his shot too was superbly blocked by Cesar - (Brazil 1 - Chile 0)
Marcelo, next in for Brazil scored - ( Brazil 2 - Chile 0)
Aranguiz, next for Chile neatly places the ball in ( Brazil 2 - Chile 1)
Hulk, next in for Brazil & Bravo saves the ball ( Brazil 2 - Chile 1)
Diaz scores the next one for Chile ( Brazil 2 - Chile 2)
Neymar takes the fifth shot & drills in for Brazil, what placements ( Brazil 3 - Chile 2)
Jara comes in for Chile & fires into the bar ( Brazil 3 - Chile 2)..... Brazil wins !!!

Today was the day of Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar & Brazil had just escaped from a cauldron of a match, as Chile bow out. It was an eagerly contested game & both sides played with vigour, though the imitable free flowing Samba football was missing. Chile have been splendid throughout their campaign & can go home with head held high. They had almost created the biggest upset of the tournament. I had predicted a 3-1 victory for Brazil & indeed it could have been so, but for some brilliant goal keeping by Chilean keeper Bravo. He was exceptional in the match, though his opposite number, Julio Cesar, stole the show in the penalty shoot outs. Looks like God is with Brazil....at least for now.
Scolari will have to really work hard on his defense, as it is getting continuously rattled & giving away poor goals. Also, upfront, Neymar is being heavily marked & will be by all defenders. He was limping towards the end of the match, with a visibly swollen knee & its incredible how he still managed to covert the all important fifth penalty. Hope he gets match fit before the next round, as Brazil are overtly dependent on him to score. This means Hulk, Oscar & Fred will have to find goals to keep Brazil in the fray. Hulk was good & penetrative today, but he has to find his scoring boots soon, as has Fred & Oscar too. They are capable players & need to believe in their scoring abilities. The team which looked in good nick against Cameroon, was faltering in defense today a number of times. This defense will be punished by better organised teams ahead. Scolari, has now overcome his nemesis Chile & hopefully finds ways to get this Brazilian outfit better functional.

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