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Copa America 2011: Brazil 0-0 Venezuela - As It Happened


Brazil 0-0 Venezuela

It was a fine evening in Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital, where 8 times Copa America champions Brazil started their title defence. For all the samba fans who travelled to the La  Plata stadium, they expected a victory with odds stacked heavily against Venezuela, a country famous for giving beauty queens and not so world class footballers.

Frustrating day out for Brazil

The Brazilian playing XI announced had  no Kaka or Elano, and a very very young team was put up especially up  front with Neymar, Pato, and Ramires and Paulo Henrique in the middle. The entire media spotlight  and the fans’ expectation lay on these young boys, especially £40 million target Neymar. There was a delayed start to the match, well that seems to be the continent’s feature. As the match started, Brazil had the feel good factor in their defence with Dani Alves already starting to make the long runs. Venezuela were defending in numbers, but it seemed only a matter of time before the holders took the lead.

12 minutes gone, Venezuela have had their first sight of goal – an Arango header that went well wide. Brazil really began to threaten. Neymar, Pato and Robinho combine on the edge of the box. It seemed that the Pato was already acting as the senior man, but he had to really convert the moves into the first goal.Venenzuela seemed to have a plan to not give any space to the Brazilian forwards and close down their playmakers. With 20 minutes gone and fans with almost expecting a goal, Robinho tried to play a clever through ball to Pato, who yet again is offside. The Brazilian crowd really going being Ganso there.  He tries to launch a shot, but it was charged down quickly by Vizcarrondo – for all their possession and dominance, the Selecao still could not break down their opponents. The crowd went  silent.  Looked like  Vizcarrondo really decided not to let any yellow shirt to pass through him. It was the 27th minute it came agonizingly close for   BRAZIL! Alexander Pato crashed a shot against the Venezuela bar from just inside the Venezuela box. Pato ,Ramires, Pato smart touches between the two, and that was the sign of the things to come for Brazil. Meanwhile Venezuela had the occasional shot going through towards the Brazilian goal, with Julio Cesar having no problem in grabbing the ball. It seemed that the Brazilian fans didn’t expect to wait for 35 minutes for their team to score the first goal.

It was the 37th minute and Thiago Silva got a yellow card for bringing down Venezuelan midfielder. But it was controversy that was brewing at the Venezuela’s side of the goal, where the Braziliansare claimed a penalty for a hand ball, which seemed a little too harsh. There were a couple of minutes to go into the first half and the obvious frustration could be heard from both set of fans for still 0-0. So that was that for the first half of Brazil’s Copa America campaign. All they were lacking was a goal.

The second half began with Brazil fans still playing their traditional drums and out came boys in yellow. Brazil still had to be the ones you fancied to take the lead, it was important to  break down the stern defensive performance from Venezuela. There was no sign of urgency from Brazil, they still were caring their careless passes and there was Pato who for the first time in the match had miscontrols or wasted an opportunity. Neymar did nothing to showcase his £40m talent – a really poor cross waslapped up by Vega.

There were signs of Venezuela shifting from defence to counter attack as Julio Cesar picked up a decent ball from Aranga .Rondon received another yellow for Venezuela.  With Venezuela deciding to overtake Brazil in the yellow card section with Eduardo Gonzalez doing the honours, Robinho was replaced by ex-Lyon striker Fred, whose introduction did make the Venezuela defence something to worry about. Just when everybody was giving attention on Ramires ,who was down on the pitch, Venezuela produced their best movement of the match, but impressive only enough before the finish.  18 year old Lucas came in for Alexandro Pato with Brazilian fans showing their frustration and  Elano replacing Ramires.

With 12 minutes to go,Venezulea got  Maldonado instead of Miku. Oswaldo Vizcarrondo was still brilliant at the heart of the Venezuela defence.  Dani Alves was almost seen alone many times up the field like a striker and often taking the attack. The Brazilian fans produced frustrating chants behind them and Brazilian squad understood they had 5 minutes to go.  Venezuela mad a substitution: Giaconda Di Giorgio enters for César Gonzalez. Meanwhile Neymar chipped it over the top, but Fred couldn’t get anywhere near it. Vega gathered it easily.  The Brazilian  young starlets looked mentally tired, rather than physically.  With a minute to go, Venezuela had a corner. Three men were in the Brazil box, and Cesar gathered it to prevent the danger.

3 minutes of added time. Neymar in opposition box, showing glimpses of what he can actually do, but the move ended  with ball to the goalkeeper. And the Bolivian referee blew the final whistle, with a 0-0 draw, with Brazilian fans showing their disappointment. Mano Menezes’ young, new look team paid the price for not scoring.  Neymar,Ganso and their other counterparts headed towards the tunnel with heads down and themselves knowing that they have big shoes to fill. And for Venezuela, they had a bunch of delightful fans in La Pata who fully got behind the team which fully deserved  draw. They didn’t allow Brazil any space, gave them their fair bit of scare, and took home their deserved point. 

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