Brazil turn on the style to knock out the States
The fabled Brazilian panache was on display for all to see as the South Americans blanked the United States 3-0 on a soaked pitch in Turku. The win sets up a mouth-watering all-South American semi-final between Brazil – back again in their home base of Tampere - and Colombia. The tough quarter-final also sees Finland 2003 say goodbye to the sensational American standout Freddy Adu.
The outmanned Americans found themselves under heavy pressure from the outset as Brazil settled quickly into their trademark rhythm. And in only the third minute they looked like scoring when Junior raced into the box and squared the ball to Ederson. The diving Phil Marfuggi only barely kept the rocket of a drive from hitting the back of the net.
With American danger man Adu forced deep into midfield to manufacture some touches on the ball, the Brazilians were oozing confidence as the sun fought through the clouds bravely in Turku.
After some beautiful midfield work had the Americans nearly hypnotised, Arouca lashed a left-footed drive from 23 yards in minute 11. With Marfuggi well and truly beaten, the ball smashed off the top of the crossbar to a great sigh from the crowd.
Not long after the initial warning shot, the Brazilians grabbed the only goal of the first half. Jonathan’s cross from the right sat up perfectly for Leonardo, and the central defender rose above a sea of Americans to nod the ball ferociously through the despairing Marfuggi’s fingertips. (1-0, 18’)
With brilliant fullback Leo getting forward and making the right side of the pitch his own, the constant pressure on the U.S. goal increased steadily as the opening period progressed. With the ball spinning and skipping on the waterlogged pitch, the lively Brazilians looked keen for another goal.
But looking brighter, and getting the ball to Adu more near the interval, the U.S. were able to stop the bleeding and make their way to the locker room only 1-0 down.
Adu continued to look menacing in the early moments of the second half. Poking the ball dangerously away from Leonardo just one minute in, he caused a bit of havoc in the Brazilian box. But Corey Ashe could not control the loose ball quickly enough to bring the game level.
“Adu is a wonderful young player, who will continue to get better,” said U.S. coach John Ellinger. “He still has some lessons to learn, but he has a very bright future in the game…and he deserves all the attention he gets.” p>The U.S. looked in the mood in the early going, settling into some semblance of rhythm against the suddenly flat South Americans. But with a burst of absolute brilliance from Ederson against the run of play, the U.S. saw their semi-final hopes fade.
After a display of dazzling skill, Ederson picked up his head and poked the ball over the U.S. keeper with the outside of his right boot – sparking massive celebrations on the Brazilian bench. (2-0, 61’)
And Evandro made it three just three minutes later with the 100th goal of the finals, taking advantage of Marfuggi’s miscue to tap the ball simply home. (3-0, 64’)
Adu, Jamie Watson and the rest of the proud Americans fought with courage and passion in the dying minutes, but effervescent Brazil were not to be denied.
“The players did what they needed to do today,” said Brazil coach Paqueta after the match. “The boys showed their technique today, and I believe we are getting better with every game.”
Classy Ellinger also had praise for the brilliant Brazilians.
“I don’t feel like we have just been through a 3-0 game,” he said. “My hat is off to Brazil. They are a wonderful team and they grabbed two crucial goals right when we were getting back into the game.”
“The three South American teams that are left are all very strong teams,” said Paqueta about the the Conmebol-heavy final four at Finland 2003. “Our match with Colombia will be very difficult. They beat us in the qualifiers, and we will do everything we can to beat them…we must win.”