Titans put on a show
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Brazil and Switzerland had already qualified for the quarter-finals, but they entered this evening’s match with at least two things at stake: bragging rights and the opportunity to avoid a Friday date with Group C top dogs Russia.

After a quick flurry from Brazil, Dejan Stankovic struck at the other end, making the most of a deflected shot that Stephan Leu has sent goalward. Surely no one expected this to be the end of the story. A hairpin turn-and-dribble from Sidney soon left Leu on his back, and the two inventive sides continued to excite. Both squads looked utterly comfortable on the sandy pitch, altogether unhampered by restrictions the surface imposes on mere mortals.

Benjamin sailed in a lovely shot to equalise before Stankovic nearly found the corner with a delightful pair of aerial strikes. Daniel squandered a gift of a set-up as the goal gaped, while Mao had to be at his best to deny the quick response. Near misses came at both ends, but Brazil looked to have a broader range of options for creating goal-scoring opportunities, most that involved nearly their whole squad.

Mao seemed to have an answer for everything the Swiss could throw his way. And throw they did. A crafty Stankovic header granted them a temporary lead, but it vanished as quickly as it had arrived. Both teams nonetheless advance to the quarter-finals of Dubai 2009, with Brazil set to face Italy, and Switzerland left to pit their wits against the Russians.