Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Brazil Recovers Form in Copa America

Robinho hat-trick destroys Chile

On July 1, at the brand new Maturin Stadium, Chilean national team coach Nelson Acosta added yet another humiliating defeat to his record of matches against Brazil.

Acosta just cannot find a formula to defeat the five-time World champions. In six encounters, he has lost on five occasions. Acosta beat Brazil once by 3-0 during a World Cup qualifying match in Santiago in 2001.

Earlier, Chile had a great start after beating Ecuador 3-2 in the first match, while Brazil lost 2-0 to Mexico and was forced to get a victory in order to continue at Copa America.

Once again, Acosta gambled on a defensive strategy and gave Brazil the initiative and control of the field.

Since the Brazilians were constantly attacking, they were constantly in the Chilean danger zone. During a clash between a defender and striker Wagner Love, the referee thought that Love had been pushed in the penalty area.

Robinho, the Real Madrid star, scored the penalty in the 33rd minute, signaling the failure of Acosta's defensive strategy that hoped to get a goalless draw. Also, an unexpected injury forced Acosta to replace central defender Rodrigo Melendez with Manuel Iturra, further disrupting the coach's plans.

During the second half, Chile took control of the action but its strikers missed several goal-scoring chances that could have changed the final result.

Twenty minutes from the end, Chile was hit by another injury and Jaime Vargas came on for Miguel Riffo. Vargas had not warmed up properly and it showed as he left plenty of open spaces for Robinho, who finished off Chile with two goals in the 83rd and 86th minutes.

The final 3-0 result was an exaggerated score for what happened during the match, but even so, Chile still has a chance to qualify, as Mexico defeated Ecuador by 2-1. Because Mexico qualified, it will field its reserve team during the last match of the first round. Since Brazil is forced to defeat Ecuador, a draw with Mexico next Wednesday will send Chile to the second round of Copa America.

Maturin Stadium, 55,000 spectators.

Starting Lineups

Brazil (3): Doni (gk), Maicon, Alex, Juan, Gilberto, Mineiro, Elano, Gilberto Silva, Robinho, Anderson and Wagner Love. Coach: Dunga.

Chile (0): C. Bravo (gk), A. Ormeno, M. Riffo, I. Fuentes, G. Jara, P. Contreras, M. Gonzalez, A. Sanhueza, R. Melendez, J. Valdivia and H. Suazo. Coach: Nelson Acosta.

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