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3 July 2011
• Estadio Ciudad de La Plata, La Plata, Provincia de Buenos Aires
Referee: R. Orozco
90' + 4'
Yellow CardAlejandro Moreno
Venezuela have a corner. Three men are in the Brazil box, and Cesar gathers it.
Brazil just haven't created any clear cut chances. Vega's barely had a save to make... Andre Santos sends in a poor shot which trickles a few feet wide. More disappointment.
G. Di Giorgi
Neymar chips it over the top, but Fred can't get anywhere near it. Vega gathers it.
Brazil are starting to put pressure on the Venezuela defence, but as always, there are at least eight Venezuelans keeping a very deep line. Time running out.
Ganso goes in slightly late on Cesar Gonzalez. Meanwhile Lucas takes a tumble in the box that Rondon would be proud of.
Elano shoots from about 40 yards - and it goes high and wide.
Alves crosses it towards Fred, but there are about eight Venezuelans in the box. Easily dealt with.
Brazil are replacing the frankly atrocious Pato. Alves swings in a free kick, but it's easily dealt with by Vega.
Bizarrely enough - it's all Venezuela. Arango drags a left-footed shot wide across the face of goal.
With 20 minutes to go, can Brazil find the key to the Venezuela defence? Miku can't get a shot in as Arango crosses it. Surely Venezuela can't nick it?
The ball ricochets in the box, but Fred and Pato can't work out whose ball it is and Venezuela get it away.
Daniel Alves contrives to give the ball away once again on the edge of the box. As the man himself would say, he "can't play without his Barca team mates."
Ex-Lyon striker Fred is replacing Robinho. Can't be any worse, surely...
Yellow CardC. González
Ramires makes a great run, pulls it back to Pato, who contrives to miscontrol it. Again. The ball cannons back to Ramires, who doesn't seem to realise that he's quite a way offside.
Rondon makes a great run into the box, sells Thiago Silva a step over then proceeds to fall over. Yellow card, a poor attempt at a dive.
Arango, who hasn't been bad so far, sends in a decent cross which Cesar deals with.
Neymar does nothing to showcase his £40m talent - a really poor cross is lapped up by Vega.
Pato really should have done better there, if he had controlled it properly, he would have had the easiest of chances to put Brazil ahead.
Rincon's corner is far too close to Cesar, who catches it. At the other end, Alves tries to play it through to Pato, who miscontrols it.
No sign of urgency from Brazil so far this half - same careless passing on the edge of the box, while Venezuela win a corner off Dani Alves.
Neymar does a good impression of Robinho - and Venezuela do the same as when the AC Milan star does it.
Robinho over elaborates on the edge of the box, tries to play a clever flick into the Venezuela box, but there's no yellow shirt to latch on to the ball.
A careless pass almost lets Pato in, but Vizcarrondo scrambles it away.
The teams are back out and Brazil have kicked off.
Brazil still have to be the ones you fancy to take the lead, but can they break down the stern defensive performance from their Venezuelan counterparts? Can Venezuela do what Bolivia managed to do two days ago and take a shock lead against far superior opponents? We're about to kick off for the second half, where we'll find out...
So that's that for the first half of Brazil's Copa America campaign. All they've been lacking is a goal. They have been over-elaborate in the final third, while Venezuela's defence have done well to limit their chances. Neymar and Robinho should have put their side ahead, while Pato was unlucky to see his shot bounce back off the bar. Meanwhile Venezuela will bemoan the decision to give a free kick for Thiago Silva's foul on Fedor when Rincon was already clean through.
45' + 2'
Thiago Silva gives a wild looping back pass to Julio Cesar, who picks it up. Venezuela appeal for an indirect free-kick, but the referee blows up for half time.
Ganso and Neymar team up, but despite being clean through on goal, Neymar's shot goes well wide. A corner given for a reason I can't fathom.
Robinho pulls the ball back to Lucas, who plays it on to Alves, who loses it. The Barcelona full-back has been poor so far - losing the ball in the opposition half while any 'joy' Venezuela have had is coming down the left.
Understandable anger from both sets of fans, but the fact remains that it's still 0-0. With three minutes plus stoppage time to go, will we have a goal before half time?
Yellow CardThiago Silva
More controversy at the other end. Brazil's front three combine to send Robinho through. The AC Milan striker's shot beats Vega, but is cleared off the line by a sliding defender. Brazil appeal for hand-ball, but the referee waves play on. Replays show that it would have been harsh to give a penalty, but it wouldn't have been surprising if it had been given.
Controversy here as Thiago Silva takes out a Venezuela midfielder. The ball breaks to Rincon, who runs through, only for the free kick to be taken.
Once again Brazil work the ball well into the final third, but are crowded out by the Venezuela defence on the edge of the box. Unbelievable that they haven't found a way through yet.
Venezuela have the ball in the Brazil half, but a cross from Cichero is wild and easily gathered by Julio Cesar.
Pato! Ramires plays a great ball over the top to Pato, who takes a couple of touches, before firing a shot which Vega gathers at the second attempt. Good work from Brazil.
Neymar hits the turf, bundled over by Rincon, who is lucky to escape a booking.
SO CLOSE FOR BRAZIL! Alexandre Pato crashes a shot against the Venezuela bar from just inside the Venezuela box. Just when La Vinotinto thought they'd weathered the storm...
Ganso tries to launch a shot, but it's charged down quickly by Vizcarrondo - for all their possession and dominance, the Selecao still can't break down their opponents. Crowd's gone silent.
Brazil look to pass it through the middle once more, but yet again they're frustrated by the Venezuelan back-line who stand firm to deny their opponents once more.
Pato's cross goes to Neymar at the far post, who launches it back into Pato, who heads it straight into Vega's hands.
Robinho tries to play a clever through ball to Pato, who yet again is offside.
Andre Santos crosses it, but it's comfortably into the arms of the Venezuela 'keeper - who, rather comically is called Vicente Vega.
Gonzalez shows some neat footwork as her surges into this opposition half. Brazil counter attack, but there's a misplaced pass from Lucas.
Salomon Rondon does well for Venezuela, until he gets too excited and bundles over Thiago Silva.
Brazil really beginning to threaten. Neymar, Pato and Robinho combine on the edge of the box, play it to Andre Santos, however his cross is overhit and Pato can't control it to give his side the lead.
Venezuela have had their first sight of goal - an Arango header that goes well wide.
Ganso is starting to pull the strings for Brazil, Venezuela are defending with numbers, but it seems a matter of time before the holders take the lead.
Brazil are stroking the ball around at will. Robinho plays in Dani Alves, but the Barcelona fullback's shot is quickly charged down, as he strikes it from the right of the box.
A long ball over the top finds Pato, who pulls it back to Neymar. the Brazilian striker spends too long on the ball and Venezuela scramble it away. The Santos star should have put his side ahead there.
Dani Alves is brought down and Brazil have a free kick just inside the Venezuela half.
This could be a long evening for the Venezuelans, as Neymar threads the ball through to Pato, who is caught offside when bearing down on goal.
And Venezuela kick us off, but lose the ball to Brazil immediately. Robinho goes on a little dribble and shoots, but the ball is easily gathered by the Venezuelan 'keeper.
Got any predictions/thoughts/amusing insights into today's match? Contact me on twitter.com/eniskoylu, and I may even publish them up here.
The sides are out, and it looks like we're going to be kicking off slightly late.
Our referee tonight is from Bolivia.
So surely Brazil are cruising for a convincing victory. Some bookies are giving odds of 1/7 on a Brazil victory, whereas Venezuela are a 20-1 long-shot to pull off a surprising victory.
For Venezuela, we have: Vega; Cichero, Vizcorrando, Perozo, Rosales; Cesar Eduardo Gonzales, Franklin Lucena, Rincon, Juan Arango; Miku, Rondon, lining up in a 4-4-2 formation.
The teams are in: Brazil are lining up in a 4-3-3, with Julio Cesar; Dani Alves, Lucio, Thiago Silva, Andre Santos; Lucas, Ramires, Ganso; Robinho, Pato, Neymar. A wealth of talent available for Mano Menezes, with many names playing for Europe's top clubs.
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