Monday, 28 June 2010

Brazil v Chile

Brazil 3 Juan 34, Fabiano 38, Robinho 59
Chile 0

Let's not beat around the bush. We all knew that was going to happen. Chile will have groaned when they saw the group draw, and realised how long the odds were on getting anyone other than Brazil in this game. They might have hoped for something different when Switzerland beat Spain, but they never scored enough goals to be top of the group, so by the time they played Spain themselves they must have seen the writing on the wall. And let's not pretend we felt any different when we realised we were going to have to play Germany.

It wasn't the game of the tournament, although it was the best game so far that's had Brazil in it. I still haven't forgiven them for the Portugal game, to be honest. To be fair, they seemed to spend less time clutching their gaping wounds and screaming for a medic than they have in previous appearances.

And they played well enough to have the first six chances that made it into my notebook, including three goals. They did all their little tricks, but it was a defender's header from a corner that put them one up. Juan took a leaf out of the Louis Carey school of defensive attacking, planting himself in the middle of the box, rising high and powering it in. Come on, I've been really good, surely I'm allowed one.

The second was just the kind of thing we're desperate to be able to say we've come to expect. Robinho free down the left on the break, the defender beaten, the cross to Kaka, the precision pass between two covering defenders to Fabiano, the unstoppable shot. You know, that kind of thing. The stuff they owe us somehow.

The third was the same kind of thing again. The Ramirez run into the heart of the Chilean defence, the defensive slip which allowed the pass across to Robinho, the shot that curves round the keeper and back in just in time. It looks so easy sometimes, football.

Chile were disappointing in this one. There was one particular moment that summed up their evening. Three nil down with twenty minutes left, they got a break, they dashed forward en masse, as they really needed to, but just couldn't seem to get the ball moving as fast as they were. Brazil took it back, and used the opportunity to show how breaks should be done. Five seconds after they'd picked it up on the edge of their own half Robinho was shooting from wide right. Bravo saved well to keep the score to three, but it was a symbolic moment.

They haven't been terrible, Chile, but they've never quite delivered. They laboured rather against a semi-pro Honduran team and an unambitious Swiss one, got one nil wins over both and threw their tournament away in the last fifteen minutes of the first half against Spain. Recovering later in that game to play the best football we've seen from them, they then settled for the one goal deficit that gave them the odds over Switzerland, when cold logic must have told them another goal would have made all the difference to their hopes. Brazil did the necessary, and home they go.

Brazil get a quarter final against Holland, with a semifinal against Uruguay or Ghana to follow. Tomorrow, Paraguay against Japan and, more tellingly, Spain against Portugal.


  1. The one prize that Chile take home is the award for the most stressed manager. The commentary pointed out that the rest of the staff seemed to be sitting as far as possible from him - I thought he was going to explode (literally) at one point.


  2. I didn't think anyone would be taking that award from Capello, but you may be right.

    Although there's seven more managerial curtain calls to come, of course. Maybe we should have another sweepstake on it.

  3. So what happened at the end? Did Uruguay win?