The first major shift in the game came 10 minutes into the match. An early Jonathan Spector cross found Clint Dempsey between the Brazilian centerbacks, and the Fulham player flicked the ball into the far corner to open the scoring. The goal meant the game settled into a specific groove: Brazil poured forward looking for an equalizer and the U.S. team settled into a deep shape, trying to repel the rampant Brazilians.
Immediately following was another crucial moment. Brazil launched an incisive attack and Robinho uncorked a shot that Tim Howard pushed around the goalpost. That save meant Brazil continued to push and the game was all one way. Had Robinho scored, the possession and nature of game would have shifted.
The beginning of the second half altered the game drastically. The U.S. defense had held strong throughout the first half, but didn't stay focused in the minute after the restart. Maicon found Luis Fabiano on top of the box, and the Seville striker performed a razor-sharp spin on the ball before blasting home. That put the game within a goal and gave the Brazilians hope, while making the Americans nervy.
As the barrage continued on Tim Howard's goal, it was only a matter of time before the Brazilians broke through again. It took the Samba Boys until the 85th minute to score a winner. Substitute Elano floated a corner across which Brazilian captain Lucio powered home after jumping over Clint Dempsey. That completely deflated the Americans, and decided the tournament.
What do you think? Which moment turned the game? Leave your opinion in the comments section below.
Zac Lee Rigg, Goal.com
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