Brazil return to form at Austrians expense
© Getty Images

Brazil have claimed top spot on goal difference in Group E at Colombia 2011 following a comfortable 3-0 win over Austria in Barranquilla.

After an inconsistent display in drawing 1-1 in their opener against Egypt, Brazil returned to form in scoring the opener before the interval, while two further goals ensured the contest was over just past the hour mark.

Brazil took the initiative from the outset in warm conditions, and looked especially dangerous with free-kicks and crosses. Ney Franco’s side dominated the contest but at times were guilty of not being able to provide the final pass.

Henrique headed over for the South Americans just five minutes into the match, while at the other end Austria had a good chance of their own but Andreas Weimann was quickly closed down by goalkeeper Gabriel.

Henrique, arguably the most dangerous player on the field, was at it again soon after with his left foot strike saved by Samuel Radlinger.

Midway through the opening half Casemiro missed an incredible chance from close range. Receiving the ball from the left the Brazilian somehow contrived to miss an open goal, as he pushed his effort wide.

The South Americans finally broke the deadlock eight minutes before the break with a sumptuous team goal. Oscar exchanged passes with Coutinho, with the pair setting up Henrique, who only needed to push the ball home for Brazil’s 200th goal in the history of the competition.

The one-way traffic continued after the goal and Henrique twice almost scored just before half-time. He firstly fired wide from close range, before then striking the post with only the goalkeeper to beat.

Austria to their credit returned from the sheds with renewed determination and Weimann, after receiving a great pass from captain Michael Shimpelsberger, was denied only by an excellent Gabriel save.

However the Europeans were soon deflated as Brazil doubled their advantage. Danilo was brought down as he attempted to round the goalkeeper and Philippe Coutinho converted from the penalty spot.

The momentum was very much with the Brazilians now and Willian tried a spectacular volley in the penalty area only for the ball to fly over the crossbar. Henrique then narrowly failed to get on the end of a Coutinho cross.

The third and clinching goal finally arrived on 63 minutes with Willian converting after some superb lead-up work involving Oscar, Coutinho and Casemiro.