- Brazil showed doubters
they can still play entertaining football in a 3-0 demolition of
Chile on Monday that took them into the World Cup quarter-finals
and sent the first South American team home.
Coach Dunga has taken plenty of
flak in his homeland for
sacrificing some of Brazil's traditional flair in favour of a
more disciplined approach but his players showed a frightening
combination of both at Ellis Park.
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"We just had to come across Brazil
as early as the second
round. They're the best team in the world," said Chile's captain
and goalkeeper Claudio Bravo after coming up against Brazil's
best performance of the World Cup so far.
The win sets up a fantastic last
eight clash on Friday in
Port Elizabeth against a similarly talent-packed Netherlands.
Coming into the match on the back
of seven consecutive
defeats by Brazil, the Chileans nevertheless tried to take the
game to their illustrious opponents, pouring forward in numbers
at every opportunity in an evenly-matched first half an hour.
Brazil's playmaker Kaka, back from
suspension after missing
the goalless draw against Portugal, was booked for a foul on
Arturo Vidal and his team's forays were largely frustrated.
But Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa's
game plan backfired when
defender Juan rose high above a fragile-looking defence to power
home Maicon's corner in the 34th minute.
From then, it was back to the
Brazil of old.
In the 38th
minute, the marauding Robinho cut in from the
left flank to feed former world player of the year Kaka, who
split Chile's defence to put Luis Fabiano through.
The in-form striker rounded the
keeper to score his third
goal of the World Cup and effectively end the contest.
Bielsa, who has transformed Chile
into one of South
America's best sides in the last three years, threw caution to
the wind in the second half, replacing centre back Pablo
Contreras with attacking midfielder Rodrigo Tello.
It did little to interrupt
minutes, Ramires surged through the heart of the
Chilean midfield and laid a short ball to Robinho, who curled a
right foot shot past Bravo to make it 3-0 and delight the hordes
of Brazilians packed into the stadium on a chilly night.
True to the attacking philosophy
that earned them second
place in the South American qualifiers, Chile kept pressing to
the end, creating some chances but generally held at bay by a
strong and determined Brazilian defence.
In contrast, Chile's back line
looked vulnerable in the
absence of Gary Medel and Waldo Ponce, both suspended.
"Brazil's superiority was too much
for us and we unable to
slow them down," Bielsa said.
The result meant Chile were the first of South America's
five teams to go out of the tournament after an impressive
showing that has contrasted with the stuttering displays by some
of Europe's football powers, notably France, Italy and England.
"South American football has
evolved a lot and it's being
showcased in this World Cup," an ecstatic Robinho said.
"It's an attacking game."
The famously grumpy Dunga, who
sipped water while the rest
of his bench hugged ecstatically after Brazil's opening goal,
was not resting on his laurels.
"We have to improve in all sectors
of our play," he said.
"Chile played exceptionally well with a lot of possession
and they passed very well but Brazil were able to maintain a
Brazilians will have to be at their best to contain a
Netherlands side boasting arguably as much attacking talent as
their own, not least wing wizard Arjen Robben who had earlier
put on a superb display in the 2-1 win against Slovakia.
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