Thursday, July 14, 2011
The squads lined up as follows:
Brazil: Julio Cesar; Maicon, Lucio, Thiago Silva, Andre Santos; Lucas Leiva, Ramires, Ganso, Robinho, Neymar; Alexandre Pato
Ecuador: Elizaga. Reasco, Araujo, Erazo, Ayovi; Minda, Noboa, Arroyo, Mendez; Benitez, Caicedo
Notable inclusions Maicon and Robinho were brought in to provide some experience in a Brazilian squad which has lacked a presence going forward in their previous two clashes. Alves was dropped to the bench for Maicon.
Neymar came out with a point to prove in the first halve, the youngster being criticised for his lack of showing in the past two group matches. This point became most apparent when Neymar launched a shot within the first five minutes, being tipped just over the bar by Elizaga.
Ecuador were matching it with Brazil for most of of the first half, knocking the ball around nicely, clearly dominating the midfield in the early exchanges. It wasn't until the 30th minute until we saw the first goal, Ac Milan superstar Pato latched onto a ball by Andre Santos to calmly slot home 1-0 Brazil.
Brazil continued to press from here, until their rhythm was disrupted by a mistake from usually reliable Julio Cesar. A shot by Caicedo was fumbled, in turn leaking a goal, levelling up things on the day 1-1, as the match entered half time. It couldn't come soon enough for the Seleção, who were under the pump in the closing exchanges of the match.
Alternatively the five time World Champions came out firing yet again, scoring again through Neymar in the 48th minute of the match. A beautifully weighted pass from Ganso, was directed straight into his path. Brazil were up 2-1, and looking to cruise through the final exchanges of the match.
It proved to be Brazil who let their lead slip yet again, in similar fashion Caicedo launched a shot at Cesar who was unable to defend his near post, resulting in Ecuador levelling the match 2-2 in just the 58th minute. The travelling fans were as loud as ever, being treated to a goal scoring feast in a match where there was nothing to split the two teams.
Neymar was desperate to add to his tally and just two minutes later, tried his luck with a powerful shot, which was fumbled by Elizaga only to be tapped in by Pato, who restored Brazil's lead, securing a brace in the process. Ecuador had all the work to do with just half an hour remaining, down 3-2.
Maicon and Robinho justified their selection in the starting eleven, proving to be the catalysts for the second goal. A powerful, flowing move down the right resulted in a perfectly weighted ball straight to the feet of Neymar who put Brazil 4-2 up on the day.
In the closing minutes, Brazil were denied a goal after Robinho's effort was disallowed. Ecudaor threw everything at Brazil but were unable to get a goal back. Two keeping errors resulted in Brazil having to score four times. A great showing by Pato and Neymar, as well as Maicon and Robinho.
FINAL SCORE—BRAZIL 4 (Neymar 2, Pato 2) : ECUADOR 2 (Caicedo 2)