Last Night’s Dubious Goal and Group B Wrap

Mexico 0-0 Chile: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egqXyMVieM4

Brazil 1-0 Ecuador: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozgzCout_2I

The goals have dried up in the third round of group games as sides get a little cagey in protecting their chances of a quarter-final appearance. Mexico’s players gave out after the game against Chile that the Chileans were ultra-defensive and had no interest in scoring, but in fairness their approach while dull has got them into the quarters.

In total Group B produced 14 goals at a meagre Group A-like 2.3 goals per game average, thanks to last night’s thin gruel. Last night’s draw between Mexico and Chile was the only tie of the group.

The best team of Group B have been Mexico who are our new tip for an outside shot at the title. In Castillo they have the most exciting revelation so far who we believe could be a big star of the future and they are now full of confidence where they arrived in Venezuela on the verge of a nervous breakdown after another Gold Cup defeat to the USA.

The unluckiest team here have been Ecuador. They were ahead and hit the post in their opening game against Chile, before two late goals against left them floored. Then last night they had the softest of penalties given against them for a dive by Robinho while having their player booked for simulation in what was a far clearer penalty call later in the game.

Brazil have been the big disappointment. Their football has been uninspiring, disjointed at times and ultra conservative. Dunga started last night’s game against Ecuador with no less than three holding midfield players in Gilberto Silva, Mineiro and Josue. As news came through of Dunga’s starting team during the Mexico-Chile game the commentators on Brazil’s TV stations struggled to digest the news. It is just not Brazil.

A Seleção has not become the most storied team in history without knowing how to be cute as well as creatively brilliant but it still sticks in the craw to see an ultra-defensive side having opponents unlocked for them by dodgy penalties gifted by generous referees as was the case last night and against Chile.

For South Americans – Brazilians included – who marvel at how Brazil always seems to get the easier groups while Argentina get thrown into various ‘groups of death’ (see last World Cups) they can now point to their path to the final. Chile again in the quarters and then the winners of Venezuela and Uruguay. Meanwhile Argentina have the pleasure of the company of Mexico, Paraguay and Peru in their side of the draw.

But the suspicion remains that Dunga does not really know what he is doing, covering up with ultra-defensive set-ups and relying on a bit of magic from Robinho. Surely not a formula for winning the tournament, easy path to the final not withstanding?

Group B final table:

Country – Points – Goal Difference

Mexico – 7 – (+3)

Brazil – 6 – (+2)

Chile – 4 – (-2)

Ecuador – 0 – (-3)

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