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4 June 2012
• AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
Referee: S. Petrescu
• Attendance: 84519
G. dos Santos 22'
J. Hernández 33'
90' + 2'
AND THAT'S IT! MEXICO BEAT BRAZIL! It's only a friendly but the Arlington crowd is on its feet cheering a famous victory. Brazil may have statistically dominated but overall they can't argue with defeat - they took too long to create meaningful chances and, when they did, failed to take them. Meanwhile a Gio dos Santos strike - was it genius or was it luck? - gave Mexico a hard-earned lead before Chicharito buried a penalty to double a Mexican advantage that they maintained until the very end. This is Ewan Macdonald thanking you for joining me this afternoon and we hope you'll stay with us on Goal.com for the match report and all the reaction. Until next time!
90' + 1'
Yellow Card Jorge Emmanuel Torres
90' + 1'
DECENT STRIKE, NEYMAR - BUT SAVED! It's a wickedly curling effort that Corona has to get down low for at his left-hand post - he made it look quite easily but that was a very well-placed shot from the young forward as we enter stoppage time.
And after yet another superb run down the middle, Neymar is brought down by Jorge Torres Nilo, who can have no complaints about a yellow card. It's another 25-plus-yarder for Brazil - what can they do this time?
GREAT SAVE, RAFAEL! Edgar Andrade pounced on a blocked shot there to fire in a curving slapshot towards the far-post, but the Brazil 'keeper was down early to hit it wide for a corner, which came to nothing.
Brazil, nontheless, are looking slightly more likely to make something happen as the game enters the final stages. In the meantime off comes Monterrey's Severo Meza in favour of Israel Jimenez of Tigres UANL, Monterrey's local rivals.
Mexico's stellar countering doesn't quite pay off that time as Severo's cross is easily kept by Rafael, but it's testament to their tactics today that time and again they've found Brazil's defence so easily overrun.
And it's time for yet another substitution. On comes Angel Reyna of Monterrey in place of Andres Guardado, the Valencia star and firm fan favorite.
Yellow Card S. Meza
Yellow Card Neymar Jr.
Good work again from Corona. The free-kick was fast and flightly but under pressure from Pato the 'keeper holds it.
And it's a bit of turf dancing now as Neymar and Severo Meza both pick up bookings for their part in a spat. Meza lifted his arm after a physical tackle from Neymar; Neymar squared up to his opponent; and Meza shoved him over. All very undignified but the upshot is a pair of bookings and a deep Neymar free-kick out wide...
After much midfield interplay Mexico deign to interrupt their fans' cries of "olé!" with a shot, but Edgar Andrade's low drive is easy for Rafael to hold on the first attempt. Brazil surely can't come back now.
Chicharito is off now, being replaced by Morelia/Cruz Azul midfielder Gerardo Lugo, while on the other side Wellington Nem of Fluminense joins the fray in place of Hulk.
HE MISSED IT! HOW DID HE MISS IT? Brazil quickly work the ball to the left, where Hulk hits a brilliant cross on the turn... only for Pato, four yards out and unmarked, to somehow step over the ball instead of tapping home!
In the opposite to friendly tradition, this game is speeding up! This time Neymar almost manages to thread a through ball to Pato, but Hector Moreno clears.
OH, CHICHARITO SHOULD HAVE SCORED! Yet another counter-attack, yet another lovely ball over the top from the impressive Aldo de Nigris for Chicharito, and suddenly the striker is one-on-one with Rafael. However, he hits it straight at the 'keeper and Uvini is back to clear. A great run but the finish really let Hernandez down.
GREAT SAVE BY CORONA! It's the Cruz Azul goalies second great stop of the afternoon - an excellent diving punch from a Juan shot after Mexico failed to clear a free-kick.
Yellow Card C. Salcido
And a substitution on the Brazil side, too. Captain Thiago Silva is off, and on comes Bruno Uvini, the Sao Paulo youngster winning his second cap.
Hulk's standing over this one, and he's winding up to shoot... it's on target, but Jesus Corona is the equal of it, not even having to dive. Not a bad effort but neither was it terribly likely to result in a goal, barring an error. At the other end, Marcelo does well to ensure Andrade can't get on the end of Zavala's pass and prevents another counter.
And now a free-kick for Brazil in a dangerous area - and a yellow card for captain Carlos Salcido, who felled Neymar just under 30 yards out, straight from goal...
Brazil are definitely taking more risks now, and it's almost paying off for them, their triangle passes nearly putting Lucas through on goal. Instead it's cleared, and we're ready for a substitution. It's Edgar Andrade on for Pablo Barrera. Expect the 24-year-old to slot in to the centre-right of midfield. He's the only Jaguares de Chiapas player in the squad.
Lucas, or Lucas Moura so as to avoid confusion with his namesake at Liverpool, is making a name for himself, with his 12th cap today at the age of just 19. He's a goalscoring attacking midfielder who can really play anywhere in the final third. Fast and surprisingly strong for a small player, he is clearly a future star.
Lucas nearly makes an impact as he wins a corner. Brazil play this one direct down the right, Danilo's deep cross being badly cleared by Francisco Rodriguez, leaving the Sao Paulo midfielder to shoot low for a blocked shot. However, the corner yet again comes to nothing.
ANOTHER CHANCE FOR MEXICO! It was - needless to say - a counter, and Chicharito's cross for De Nigrid found the sub with a narrow angle on goal. However, his first-time volley sailed over the bar! Good work from Chicharito, who left Juan standing in his wake.
And here's Brazil's first pair of substitutions. On comes Lucas for the disappointing Sandro, while Pato is on in place of Leandro Damiao. This shouldn't result in too much of a change of shape for the selecao, although Lucas can maybe drift a bit wider than Sandro and Pato offers slightly more pace than his counterpart.
The official attendance has just been announced. It is a record for a football match in the state of Texas: 84,516. Given that there are just 80,000 seats at Cowboys Stadium it speaks to the enthusiasm of the fans that even the standing room areas brought thousands out today.
The game is following much the same pattern that you'd expect, Brazil trying to build slowly and Mexico hitting on the break. But overall it's Mexico who are benefitting from it. Also, Marcelo has gained the first booking of the game, being carded for his foul on Jorge Torres Nilo.
Yellow Card Marcelo
Giovani dos Santos
A. De Nigris
Well, they're introducing fresh legs, for a start. On comes Aldo de Negris to replace Giovani dos Santos, who's had a fine game overall - he's not seen too much of the ball but he's been effective on it, scoring and winning a penalty. De Nigris, a late bloomer at 28 and only capped two years ago, can be expected to play a more direct game.
ANOTHER GREAT CHANCE FOR MEXICO! Brazil are all at sea and Rafael yells as much at his defence! That time it was Guardado free to squeeze in between Danilo and Juan, and force another save at the near post. What can Brazil do to stop this onslaught? And what can Mexico do to keep it going?
ALMOST 3-0 TO MEXICO! That was close, and Brazil very nearly pay the price. That was some brilliant passing work there from Gio dos Santos, Guardado, Torres Nilo, and finally Jesus Zavala, who cuts into the box on the one-two with Torres Nilo before having his shot blocked and shooting wide. That was the best chance of the game so far and it was very, very nearly in the back of the net. Brazil well and truly riding their luck!
Oscar's playing higher up the longer the game progresses, and that reaps dividends as Marcelo's excellent through ball finds the midfielder free on the left, where he's cut down by Francisco Rodriguez for a free kick, five yards back from the corner of the box. Neymar and Marcelo stand over it... Neymar takes it.. but it's easily headed clear by Hector Moreno.
That's good defensive play by Juan, who covers for Marcelo by shutting down Pablo Barrera quickly on a run down the right on the counter. The centre-back atoned for his penalty concession there, but he'll still be unhappy with the first half.
Hulk stars with a run down the right from Sandro's pass, but his cross is slightly too hard-hit for Leandro Damiao, who can't connect and thus the ball goes out for a goal kick.
And we're back for the second period, with Brazil now shooting towards the western end of the Cowboys Stadium here in Arlington.
And Brazil arrive on the pitch too. Once again there doesn't seem to have been any changes yet. Oscar, Sandro and Romulo still comprise the midfield three.
Mexico are already back out and they appear to be entirely unchanged from the first half. Of Brazil there is as yet no sign, but they'll be out soon enough...
Either way, we expect to be back in action imminently, with all eyes on the benches to see if there's been any movement. Mexico have eleven on the bench, Brazil ten, and each team can use six of them.
The turf engineers are out on the pitch right now, stamping down the panels around the goalmouths. The pitch condition is generally decent but there are some bare patches. Still, it was watered pre-match to give it a bit of zip, and perhaps that helped Mexico a bit with their long passes.
For all my criticism of Brazil, the fact remains that - excluding the penalty - Mexico have had just one shot on goal, and that's the one that snuck in at the post. By the percentages Brazil are well in front - but it's not percentages that matter, it's the scoreboard, and that's where the selecao need to focus in the second half.
But what's happening with Brazil? Yes, they've had 69% of the possession so far, but to what end? Their six corners have largely either been poorly delivered or wasted - Leandro Damiao's one clear-cut opportunity was a free header that he hit over the bar. Jesus Corona's only had two saves to make, only one of which presented any real danger. And there is a real lack of killer balls from the likes of Oscar. In fact Brazil look most dangerous when Marcelo sprints up the outside, but even that's brought no joy. Plenty for Mano Menezes to think about and he may resort to the substitute's bench, where the likes of Pato and Lucas are waiting, not to mention the versatile Casemiro.
For Jose Manuel de la Torre, tactically his side are doing okay, packing the defence and playing a fast counter-attacking game that's won them two goals so far. The odd question can maybe be asked of the defensive midfield in terms of ball-winning but with the defence arrayed as it is that could as well be by design as anything else. A good afternoon so far for Mexico.
45' + 2'
That's half-time! Mexico lead thanks to a cross-cum-shot - I'm calling it a shot - from Giovani dos Santos, and then a Chicharito penalty. 2-0 maybe flatters the ersatz hosts ever so slightly, but at the same time Brazil have only themselves to blame: they gave away a needless spot-kick and have generally wasted possession and set-pieces. Both coaches have plenty of pros and cons to take from this first half, but the scoreline is the one thing that can't be argued with - and that's Mexico 2 Brazil 0.
45' + 1'
That last corner is tipped away by an unseen head, and surely Hulk, unmarked at the back corner of the six-yard box, will have a dig... but no! He misses the ball entirely, and the half-time whistle sounds.
And here's another corner. Danilo wins that one - he made it all the way to the touchline - and Hulk is to take it... it reaches the back post, and Juan shoots low... blocked! Another good chance goes begging and it's another corner!
Eight consecutive passes and almost a minute of close control wins Brazil nothing but a throw-in in the attacking phase. It's fair to say that as it's only a friendly there is no need to panic, but in a competitive match one can imagine impatience getting the better of the selecao. For all their possession they've had just two decent chances so far, and a slew of wasted set-pieces.
Now Neymar wins a free-kick 35 yards out, right in line with the penalty spot, and it's whipped forward but to no avail. Yet again it's a Mexico counter through Chicharito, but Marcelo is back quick-like to save Juan's blushes.
Straight down the other end... and that's a fine save from Corona! A long-range effort from Oscar sees the ball tipped wide for yet another corner, which is cleared again.
Chicharito and Gio dos Santos combine yet again on the break there with some slick passing, but the Manchester United man's ball across goalmouth is too close to Rafael and the chance is lost.
Oscar is back up in his familiar advanced position now, with Romulo in hot pursuit, as Brazil try to apply more pressure. There are signs of some temper seeping into the game as Jesus Zavala appears to toss an elbow at Neymar, but he escapes a booking, and Brazil are left to resume midfield possession from the free kick.
Mexico living dangerously again as Hulk wins another corner with a long effort. In it comes... and it's Corona who again punches off the line and the danger is cleared.
Dos Santos is clutching his neck and chest but it seems very unlikely that he'll need to stay off. He's on the sidelines for treatment but he'll be back on in seconds.
And now it's another corner, Hulk breaking forward down the right but being blocked out by Torres Nilo. The man himself takes the corner but it's cleared at the near post. Gio tries to counter but is blocked off the ball - he's in some pain and the physios come on. It looked like a foul - a clear case of obstruction - by Sandro, but the referee doesn't think there was anything wrong with the challenge.
Well, good work fron Neymar and Marcelo wins the selecao a corner, and from an unmarked position Leandro Damiao gets on the end of it, but heads over the top and into the top of the net. He should have done better but either way it's a reminder for Mexico that this game isn't over.
Now what for Brazil? Menezes' side have had the best of the possession, they look more comfortable on the ball, but they have just one wide shot to show for this. Mexico's deep defensive line has already caught them offside once, and the men in yellow are struggling to break through otherwise.
Assist Giovani dos Santos
Penalty Goal Javier Hernández
GOAL TO MEXICO! It's 2-0 to Jose Manuel de la Torre - a lovely spot-kick from CHICHARITO doubles the advantage! Rafael went the right way but with a mid-height ball into the side of the net the 'keeper can't be blamed. Brazil are in a heap of trouble, Mexico are in heaven - it's 2-0 to the seleccion!
PENALTY TO MEXICO! Another defensive mistake from Brazil and this time they pay the price With his back to goal, Dos Santos is cut down clumsily by Juan, foot-to-shin, and the Internacional stopper can have no complaints. It's going to be Chicharito to take it...
MEXICO DANGEROUS AGAIN! With Danilo nowhere, Andres Guardado is free to stroll down the left flank and clip a cross to the near post, where Thiago Silva clears for the corner with Chicharito inches behind him. Once again the set-piece delivery is disappointing but Mano Menezes can't be pleased with what he's seeing here.
Brazil finally get a shot off - after patient play on the edge of the box, with no way through into the area, Marcelo dispossesses Barrera, plays the one-two with Oscar, but trundles a shot wide of Corona's goal. They'll need to do significantly better than that.
Mexico are bypassinng the midfield here on a lot of their breaks, but let's not forget that it was Pablo Barrera's vision that put dos Santos on the path towards goal. West Ham will presumably be watching with interest.
... and they almost managed to do so again there! A lovely little pass from Chicharito started that move off, and Gio cut down the right this time before heading box-wards, but this time Juan was able to get the clearance in.
You can now see the confidence in the Mexican lineup. They're covering more ground faster, and Brazil have a lot of work on their hands now. That said, Mexico are still by far the more reserved of the two sides and will be happy to counter.
Looking at it again, that has to have been a deliberate strike from Gio Dos Santos. No question of a mis-hit cross - that was just a sensational goal, in off the upright from a really tough angle. On his day he's one of the most natural talents in the global game. It's fair to say he's underachieved so far, but when he's good, he's unbelievable.
Assist P. Barrera
Goal Giovani dos Santos
GOAL FOR MEXICO! UNBELIEVABLE! We said they were dangerous on the counter and that's exactly what we just saw! It's GIOVANI DOS SANTOS with the goal - but did he mean it? After a long ball over the top from Pablo Barrera, Gio cuts into the area and from the narrowest of angles clips a lob over Rafael between the Brazil posts. Chicharito was in the middle looking for the header, but in the end it wasn't needed as the ball went in off the post.
Mexico are losing composure in midfield and it's starting to show as Brazil enjoy more and more possession. Neymar almost manages to skip through the back line but he's robbed at the last second by Salcido.
Hulk feels that he's denied a penalty! On the break, he strides fully 40 yards into the box and is about to unleashed the shot when Francisco Rodriguez gets in front of him. The Stuttgart stopper kept his leg in, though, and as such the referee waves the forward up onto his feet. Still, what a run from the Porto star.
Another robust challenge there from Juan on Torres Nilo, indicating that this game isn't quite the slow-paced friendly some may have anticipated. There is a lot to prove here for both sides. Brazil, though, are starting to look slightly more conservative in their positioning as they recognise Mexico's strengths on the counter.
Nervy moments for Mexico here - a lost ball in midfield allows Hulk to break into the box before Severo Meza can clear under pressure. Brazil are the better side but allow for the fact that they haven't had it all their own way.
That gave Mexico a chance to counter, but Salcido's ball is a shade too long for Chicharito to reach.
The referee sees a foul from Jorge Torres Nilo on Hulk there, giving Brazil a deep free-kick on the right flank. There are five yellow shirts in the box... and Corona comes out to clear with a punch!
The corner comes to nothing - Pablo Barrera took it but it went horribly awry, as did his attempt at a deep cross in recovery.
Another fast break forward for Mexico, and it's Guardado who receives the ball on the left flank, winning a corner as his outswinging cross clips the leg of Danilo. By the way, if you have any questions or comments on today's game, please tweet me at @ewanmacd.
For such a young player Oscar is incredibly cool under pressure, and it is he who starts off a move for Brazil that ends with the ball in the net - but it's ruled out for offside. From midfield Oscar launches it to Hulk, who in turn clips a neat pass over the top for Leandro Damiao. His narrow-angle finish is true but he was a shade offside and as such the goal is ruled out.
Unlucky for Chicharito there! Taking a ball from Salcido down, he outmuscles his marker but ultimately trips over himself under pressure on the edge of the box. A little glimpse there of what Juan and Thiago Silva have to worry about.
Romulo is playing quite far forward today, swapping positive with Oscar in an attempt to drive Brazil's possession. Mano Menezes' side is strongly attack-minded and they'll attempt to overwhelm Mexico via force of numbers as well as ability.
Brazil are trying to match Mexico's width, and to that end both Marcelo and Danilo are very, very high up the pitch. That almost costs them as Mexico counter down their right flank, but Juan sprints out from the middle to clear a speculative ball for a throw-in. Brazil definitely playing with the initiative here but we all know how dangerous Mexico can be going forward...
First free-kick of the game goes the way of Mexico - Neymar clatters into Severo Meza with his right foot high. He escapes a booking - in a competitive match that would have been 50/50 for a yellow card. It's launched over the top from the right-back position but Chicharito can't bring it down.
In typical de la Torre style it's a staggered forward line for Mexico. Gio dos Santos is withdrawn and Chicharito is off the last defender. At the moment, though, this high-paced game is in the hands of Brazil.
Brazil's lineup in these early stages is looking like a 4-3-3, with Neymar on the left and Hulk on the right. Hulk's freed down the flank for an early opportunity: his shot's blocked, and though Marcelo is first to the rebound he skies a shot from the edge of the area.
We're underway in Arlington! Seleccion meets selecao: it's Mexico-Brazil and it's LIVE on Goal.com.
In this mini-tour of the USA, Brazil have won all three games so far, but interestingly they have yet to keep a clean sheet. Mexico, meanwhile, were ran close by Bosnia midweek - a cause for concern, given their experienced lineup, that they needed a late defensive error to take the win.
Mano Menezes' side are the narrow favourites for this game but in front of what is effectively a home crowd, Mexico can't be written off, particularly with their experienced defensive line.
The Mexican anthem finishes with a cheer, but the loudest shouts from the crowd so far have come for Gio dos Santos and Chicharito. When the camera zoomed in on them, the noise was deafening. Indeed, Mexico's goal hopes will lie primarily with them, but keep an eye out too for Andres Guardado, formerly of Deportivo, now with Valencia.
Here they come - the teams line up for the anthems here in Arlington, starting with Brazil (whose jaunty anthem, rather uncharitably, is greeted with some boos from the crowd.) Brazil are in their traditional yellow shirts and blue shirts - Mexico in green shirts and white shirts.
Once more, with feeling: today's lineups. MEXICO: Corona; Rodríguez, Salcido, Severo, Moreno, Torres Nilo; Barrera; Dos Santos, Zavala, Guardado; Javier Hernández. BRAZIL: Rafael; Danilo, Thiago Silva (c), Juan, Marcelo; Sandro, Rômulo; Oscar, Neymar; Hulk, Leandro Damião.
The seats are starting to fill up now, but the standing areas have long since crowded out. At this stadium tickets are sold for 'standing room only' sections - behind banks of seats, on stairwell landings, pretty much anywhere that's safe. Long before the seated fans took their places, folk were camping out at the best standing spots to get a view of the bitch. For those who still can't see, there are always the big screens...
It wouldn't be an Arlington match without at least one mention of the big screen, so here goes: the big screen is ridiculously big. It is bigger than your house. If you've never seen it, think of the biggest stadium screen you can imagine. Then increase its size by 50% or so. Now you're closer to the reality. I've been to several matches at this facility and more than once I've found my eye drawn to it when I really should be watching the pitch below.
On that subject, remember that this is a (heavily) air-conditioned facility. Heat will simply not be a factor for the players. That said, it's the tail end of an extremely gruelling season for both sides, and as such we can't expect 110% speed in this game. Brazil, of course, have a friendly with Argentina this coming Saturday, while Mexico face the somewhat less intimidating Guyana in a World Cup qualifier. After that both teams are off until August.
It's 1:50pm Central time, meaning there are ten minutes until kick-off. Incredibly half the seats are still empty, with fans still streaming in from outside. All those "get here early" notices have fallen on deaf ears, it seems - either that or people are still enjoying the Texas heat in the parking lots...
By the way, today it's cap number 101 for Mexico skipper Carlos Salcido. The ex-PSV man, now back in Mexico with Tigres UANL, hit the century against Bosnia on Wednesday. Sub 'keeper Guillermo Ochoa could potentially hit a milestone today, too: if he comes off the bench the Ajaccio man will reach his 50th appearance for the seleccion.
By way of reminder, the line-ups are as follows. MEXICO: Corona; Rodríguez, Salcido, Severo, Moreno, Torres Nilo; Barrera; Dos Santos, Zavala, Guardado; Javier Hernández.. BRAZIL: Rafael; Danilo, Thiago Silva (c), Juan, Marcelo; Sandro, Rômulo; Oscar, Neymar; Hulk, Leandro Damião.
From a tactical standpoint the three-man Brazilian midfield brings real interest. Romulo, winning just his fourth cap, is a tall, strong enforcer, one who only made his Brasileiro debut two years ago for Vasco da Gama, the club for which he still plays. Sandro is similarly proportioned but, being three years older and with a wealth of continental and indeed Premier League experience under his belt, needs little introduction. Then there's Oscar of Sandro's ex-club Internacional, who is the most creative of the bunch and certainly the most dangerous when faced with goal.
In any case, north Texas is a happy hunting ground for the Manchester United striker. Chicharito has scored three times at Cowboys Stadium before - a hat-trick in a 5-0 win over El Salvador in the 2011 Gold Cup, 363 days ago.
On the other side, all eyes are on Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez. The Mexican idol came off the bench to tap in a late winner against Bosnia midweek in Chicago and has thus earned the chance to start here in Texas. He's got an impressive 24-in-35 scoring record for the seleccion. Most of these have been in friendlies and against modest opposition at the Gold Cup, but who can forget his opener against France in the 2010 World Cup, along with that strike against Argentina?
The Brazil lineup is out on the turf now and despite their being massively outnumbered, the Brazil fans made their voices heard. Over at the south-west corner of the stadium is a large group of Selecao faithful, complete with Neymar banner. The youngster will look for his 10th goal in his 18th appearance in the yellow tonight.
Mexico's lineup has an average of 42 caps; Brazil's, just 9. Mexico also have a higher average age, with a mean of 26 to Brazil's 21.7. Neither side, then, is particularly veteran.
And we have the Mexican lineup. It is: Corona; Rodríguez, Salcido, Severo, Moreno, Torres Nilo; Barrera; Dos Santos, Zavala, Guardado; Javier Hernández. Looks like coach Jose Manuel de la Torre is going for width to counter Brazil's gameplan.
It's a capacity crowd of over 80,000 at this palacial arena - no mean feat, given the extortionate ticket and parking prices - with fans busing in from across the state and even south of the border for Mexico's key friendly match.
The much-anticipated Mexican lineup will follow as soon as we receive it. For now, check out the Match Preview link above to see our predicted lineup.
Prior to that, though, we have the official Brazil line-up already. It's narrow on paper and could be anywhere between a 4-1-2-3 and a 4-3-2-1 - we'll find out when we begin, but 4-2-2-2 seems most likely. With that in mind the players are: Rafael; Danilo, Thiago Silva (c), Juan, Marcelo; Sandro, Rômulo; Oscar, Neymar; Hulk, Leandro Damião.
Arlington is a sea of green today, with a little bit of yellow thrown in for good measure. It can mean only one thing: it's time for Mexico to meet Brazil at the Cowboys Stadium in a sold-out international friendly. I'm Ewan Macdonald of Goal.com and it will be my pleasure to share with you all the action from today's fixture. Stay with us - at 1:45pm local time we'll bring you all the build-up ahead of the 2pm kick-off.
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