Brazil got off to a fine start to their first match of 2016. It took less than a minute for Douglas Costa to give them the lead, converting a teasing low cross from Willian. When Renato Augusto doubled the home side’s lead with a wonderful dummy to bamboozle Fernando Muslera 25 minutes later, Brazil were in dreamland.
However, the second half flipped the game on its head as Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez earned Uruguay a well-deserved draw in Recife.
Below, Brasil Global Tour looks back at five major talking points from the game.
In his first appearance for Brazil since making a controversial move to China, Renato Augusto proved himself on the international stage, validating Dunga’s decision to make him a first-team regular. The 28-year-old was the engine and the brains behind the Selecao’s first-half dominance, sitting deep to construct the play and bursting forward to help in an attack that lacked a focal point with Neymar operating as a false no.9. He capped his performance with a wonderful goal, beating Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera with a dummy before hammering the ball into the roof of the net for Brazil's second. Renato Augusto may have left Brazil this year, but he’s here to stay.
Nobody has appeared for Brazil more regularly than Willian since Dunga’s July 2014 arrival. He once again impressed, particularly in the first period, cutting in from the right to send in a wonderful cross that gifted Douglas Costa the opener after just 40 seconds in Recife. The Chelsea man once again proved that he can alleviate Neymar of some of the burden to create in the final third, while his industrious work ethic was on show throughout. Perhaps the most consistent performer since World Cup 2014, Willian is the shining light of Dunga’s Brazil.
After dominating the opening proceedings against Uruguay to charge into a two-goal lead after just 25 minutes, Friday night’s draw will feel like an opportunity squandered for Dunga and Brazil. After arriving at the break with a commanding lead, the Selecao failed to kick on in the second period as Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez struck to earn a well-deserved draw for la Celeste. They will have a shot at redemption on Tuesday but face a tricky trip to Asuncion to face Paraguay, where a draw could leave them well off the pace in the race to World Cup 2018.
David Luiz came in for criticism after the Brazilian defence allowed Uruguay back into the game and will now be under pressure to retain his role in the side. The PSG stopper was hoping to atone for his showing against Luis Suarez in last season’s Champions League but has faced accusations that he was in part at fault for both goals in Friday’s 2-2 draw. However, his central defensive partner Miranda was quick to insist that any personal criticisms of Luiz were unfair, insisting that the entire team must take responsibility for the lapses that allowed Uruguay back into the game. A booking for Luiz has ruled him out of the clash with Paraguay, leaving the likes of Gil and Marquinhos a chance to stake their claims for a starting role alongside the immovable Miranda.
Captain Neymar was well aware that he was walking a tightrope in Friday’s clash. Just one booking away from a suspension, the heavy treatment he received from the Uruguayan defence, and Jorge Fucile in particular, boiled over in the second half, however, has he picked up the yellow card that rules him out of the match with Paraguay. The Selecao’s on- and off-field leader will once again miss an important match. He now has 14 yellow cards in 70 internationals.