JOHANNESBURG - Few teams have the
audacity to attack Brazil and their 3-0 World Cup second-round
win over Chile on Monday showed what happens to those who do.
Chile boldly tried to go where few have gone before,
fielding three forwards against the five-times world champions,
and taking the game to their fellow South Americans.
It was good while it lasted. But after a bright opening half
hour, Chile were ruthlessly pulled apart by a team who have
taken the art of counter-attacking to a new level and
mercilessly punish the slightest mistake.
Brazil coach Dunga has complained that most teams field an
ultra-cautious approach when facing his side, almost implying
that there is something morally wrong about such tactics.
But, after seeing his team give ponderous, pedestrian
displays against the massed ranks of North Korea and Portugal,
and then turn on the style against the fearless Chileans, it is
hard to imagine why any of Brazil's opponents would want to be
Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa, who in three years has turned
his team from a squabbling rabble into one of the best teams in
South America, is a man who cannot bring himself to field a
However, on Monday he appeared to play straight into
Lesser teams, including Colombia, Venezuela and Bolivia,
managed to hold Brazil to goalless draws in the World Cup
qualifiers by packing their defences and challenging Brazil to
find a way through.
Those who attacked, including Uruguay and Chile themselves,
were taken to the cleaners.
Chile actually dominated the early stages and looked
But, even then, there was a sense of the inevitable about
what was to come as their final pass lacked punched and the
imposing Brazil defence, led by Lucio and Juan, gave nothing
With Brazil looking dangerous at set pieces, when they threw
forward a phalanx of towering players, Chile looked as if they
were prodding a sleeping lion with a sharp instrument.
Before Chile could realise what was happening, the game was
over as a contest, Brazil taking a two-goal lead in classic
Dunga-era style with a header from a corner by Juan and a
superbly executed counter-attack, finished off by Luis Fabiano.
After that, it was a matter of how many they would score.
To their credit, Chile never gave up, Bielsa replacing
defender Pablo Contreras with forward Jorge Valdivia at
halftime, but their attacks repeatedly buffeted against the
Even when they did get through the back line, they were
confronted by Julio Cesar - arguably the world's best
On admittedly rare occasions, too, they looked like they
wanted to walk the ball into the net instead of simply crashing
it home with the goal at their mercy.
Brazil added one more but could easily have doubled their
tally, looking as if they could score with every attack.
Ivory Coast coach Sven-Goran Eriksson warned, after seeing
his team lose 3-1 in a group game, that teams need to be perfect
to beat Brazil. That message looked truer than ever on Monday.
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