Brazil marched into the Copa semi-finals with an emphatic 6-1 thrashing of hapless Chile and showed some of the old magic against opponents foolish enough to give them all the time and space in the world to play their natural game.
Juan opened the scoring with a header from a corner and Julio Baptista produced a clinical finish for the second. Robinho bagged two bringing his Copa total to six. With Chile completely failing to close down spaces in midfield Brazil’s three holding mid-fielders were free to rampage forward in support of the attack and one of them Josué scored his first goal for his country on such a raid. Vagner Love, denied so many times in the game, finally got on the score sheet with just minutes to go after exchanging a series of passes with substitute Elano.
Chile placed the skimpiest of fig-leafs over this huge humiliation by scoring the goal of the game when Humberto Suazo, turned and produced a beautiful chip over Doni from the edge of the area.
Brazil came into this game after three poor performances in the group stages and coach Dunga was under increasing pressure over his ultra-defensive tactics and the mood in the Brazilian camp was reported to be dark.
Perhaps Chile were the ideal opponents. They came into the game under their own cloud after claims several of the squad went on a drunken rampage in their hotel after clinching qualification against Mexico on Wednesday.
Whatever the reason they gave Brazil all the time and space in the world for most of the 90 minutes and as several players and coach Acosta warned beforehand – if there is one team you cannot afford to do this with it is Brazil, even one fielding three holding mid-fielders. A pity for their fans they did not heed their own warnings.
Brazil now go into their Tuesday semi-final against Uruguay with confidence rebooted and for the next few days at least Dunga should enjoy his press conferences for the first time since arriving in Venezuela.