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REPORT: BRAZIL VS VENEZUELA, BRAZIL START THE CAMPAIGN WITH A COMFORTABLE WIN

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Brazil took home all three points in the introductory fixture of Copa America against Venezuela. The hosts spared no mercy for the covid-hit Venezuelan camp as they slotted in three goals. The Venezuelan team would have been happy that they only conceded three, considering the number of chances the host side created.

 

 

Venezuela was forced to make several changes to their squad following a covid-19 outbreak. Nearly twelve players and staff were tested positive, as a result of which several players were brought in as replacements. The Venezuela line-up changed overnight with just four players retaining the spot from the match against Uruguay.

’s Brazil on the other hand was injury-free and boasted all the biggest stars they needed to win against any side in the continent. A rather lopsided fixture on paper.

FIRST HALF

The opening game kicked off in style with a Casemiro led Brazil looking to take advantage of the newly formed Venezuela team. The first crucial chance of the game came in the 8th minute through a Neymar corner. The ball in from the corner was flicked on by Richarlison towards the far post. However, no one in yellow was quick enough to react and the ball bounced off for a goal kick.

Shortly afterwards, once again, Neymar put in a daunting pass for Richarlison. A driving run followed by a visionary curved ground pass with the outside of his boot to find the No.7. But this too ended in vain.

 

 

Neymar kept on making his appearance known with some scintillating passes and crosses into the box. His corners were a real menace for the crowded Venezuela box. 23 minutes in and Brazil finally scored their opening goal. Once again as a result of Neymar corner. Richarlison once again flicked the corner into the box; Marquinhos was excellent in outmuscling the defender and smartly finished to give the hosts the lead.

Although Brazil had nine attempts in the half, thrice as much as their opposition, they were unable to score another goal.

SECOND HALF

Brazil brought on Alex Sandro and Everton Ribeiro in the second half in hopes of ramping up the game a bit more. Brazil went on to create plenty of chances in the second half as well. The Selecao had an easy time with the build-up play. However, they lacked the final product in the attacking third.

Although they had plenty of clear chances to score a goal, no one in Yellow seemed to apply the finishing touch. Venezuela remained unproductive in attack, unable to cause any sort of danger for the majority of the half. This meant Brazil was given space and time to find the goal that could help them relax.

In the 62nd minute, the Venezuelan defensive efforts went undone as they conceded a cheap penalty. Cumana tripped Martinez close to the by-line, and the referee pointed to the spot. Neymar stepped up and slotted in the second goal of the night. A slow runup, sending the keeper one way before rolling it down the other way.

 

 

In the 89th Minute, Brazil sealed the deal as substitute Gabriel Barbosa headed the ball into an empty net. Neymar sprints into the box with the ball at his feet and takes it away from the onrushing keeper. Although his touch took him away from the goal, Neymar still managed to float the ball back in for Barbosa. The substitute made no mistake, heading the ball into an unguarded net.

 

 

Let’s look at our key takeaways from the match.

MAKESHIFT VENEZUELA

Changing a squad overnight is no easy task. Changing it to play in Copa America makes it all the more difficult. Changing it to play against Brazil, even more herculean. Jose Peseiro probably had the most stressful nights of his career. The situation was far from ideal and his decisions are key to the success or downfall of the country.

It was evident from the game that the team put together lacked chemistry. A 4-5-1 formation was deployed to stay compact, trying to deny Brazil space to ponder. Venezuela was happy to sit back and deny the space. They didn’t have a clear plan going forward and heavily depended on the individual runs made by their players.

 

 

What more could you expect from a team that was playing with unfamiliar faces? Yet, despite a makeshift line-up, Brazil found their first goal only through a set piece. The bravery and heart displayed by the Venezuelan players were commendable.

AVERAGE, YET STILL BETTER

The Selecao was not at their best. Yes, they did win the match, but their overall play did not match their expected level. Yet, Brazil were better than the Venezuela team, just as predicted. However, the lack of goals from open play and poor finishing raises concern.

 

 

Tite has done a phenomenal job at reviving the national team. Brazil is slowly making their way back to the pinnacle of the football pyramid. If they do hope to keep that momentum going, they need to defend the title. If so, their performance needs to improve. Neymar and co. still have more gears to click into, and they will need it if they do intend to go all the way.

LIMITED YET IMPACTFUL

Brazil’s No.10 was denied space in the attacking third for the majority of the game. Yet, Neymar Jr. was one of the most influential players in the game; playing a hand in all of Brazil’s goals. Neymar was ‘The Star’ among the many stars from Brazil as he gave the run around to several players from Venezuela.

 

 

When the space in front of him was crammed, the PSG forward used his exceptional passing range to find teammates in the box. He was also the architect of many of Brazil’s attack through the middle. At times, the player used his otherworldly footwork to work his way through the Venezuelan crowd. If his finishing was a tad bit better, Neymar would have easily gone home with the match ball.

The rest of the teams should be worried. Even at his average, Neymar Jr is still the major goal threat. If he does reach his best, there’s no question that Brazil will at least make the finals.

 

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