USA – Brazil Summary

Robinho Brazil World Cup 2010 Brazil V Chile (3-0) 28/06/10 Round Of 16 at Ellis Park Stadium FIFA World Cup 2010 Photo Robin Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

Three minutes into the match, five-time World Cup champions Brazil were reeling. Landon Donovan, latching onto an Edson Buddle pass, flew into the box, apparently set to give the United States an early lead. However, a slight nudge from defender Thiago Silva held up Donovan just enough before help could arrive. The Brazilians – adjusting to a new coach, formation, and group of players – calmed down soon enough, with their man advantage in midfield (they used a 4-2-3-1 against the gringos’ 4-4-2) showing through as the match progressed.

Outside of their tactical advantage, this young Brazilian squad benefited from the technical ability of wingers Robinho and Neymar. Both starlets routinely victimized US fullbacks Jonathan Bornstein and Jonathan Spector, though the match’s first goal was due not to fancy footwork but shoddy defending. Robinho released left back Andre Santos along the flank, and while USA’s young midfielder Alejandro Bedoya followed Santos’ run, Bedoya lost track of him for a brief moment, giving Santos time to pick out Neymar at the far post, and Brazil’s star of the first half – and possibly many halves to come – beat Bornstein to the cross.

Brazil continued to control possession for the rest of the half and found a second goal in the 46th minute. AC Milan striker Alexandre Pato beat the offside trap of Omar Gonzalez and Carlos Bocanegra to earn a one-on-one with goalkeeper Tim Howard.

Despite Brazil’s impressive attacking display, Pato’s goal would be the last of the match. Brazil continued to control possession in the second half but were stymied by halftime substitute Brad Guzan, who made multiple saves, and the woodwork, as the Brazilians hit the post on a number of occasions. The Americans, outside of Donovan’s early half-chance, had few scoring opportunities. Michael Bradley did manage to place a Sacha Kjlestan cross into the net but Brazil had timed their offside trap perfectly. The gringos’ best chance came late in the match when Spector squeezed a cross into Herculez Gomez. Unfortunately for Gomez, goalkeeper Victor deflected the shot out of play.

Come back tomorrow for a full analysis of the night’s action.

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