Brazil and USA meet once again on Friday as the Brasil Global Tour rolls into New Jersey
The two teams first met in 1930, in Rio de Janeiro, as Brazil triumphed in 4-3 in a tight encounter. They would have to wait 62 years for the next clash, which arrived in Fortaleza in 1992 – once again Brazil won out, with goals from Rai (2) and Antonio Carlos.
In the 88 years since their maiden clash, USA have triumphed just once: On February 10, 1998, when a Predrag Radosalvjevic strike earned them a 1-0 victory in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Another famous encounter arrived as USA hosted the 1994 World Cup, which saw Brazil edge through to the quarter-finals thanks to a single goal from Bebeto. The most exciting, however, took place in 2009 when Dunga’s Selecao made a dramatic comeback to win the competition after going two goals down.
And on the eve of the contest at the MetLife Stadium, we cast an eye back over some of the more memorable matches between Brazil and USA.
The 2009 Confederations Cup final produced the most exciting and dramatic match in the history of Brazil vs USA. The current coach was in his first spell with the Selecao and looking to follow up his 2007 Copa America victory with Brazil’s third Confederations Cup crown – Dunga himself led them to their first as captain, in 1997. His side were hot favourites, but found themselves two goals down after a stunning opening 45 minutes from the United States, who took the lead through Landon Donovan inside the first 10 minutes.
Donovan then raced away on the counter to double USA’s lead just 16 minutes later, leaving Brazil shell-shocked at half-time. Dunga rallied his troops at the break, however, and they returned to the Ellis Park field transformed. Luis Fabiano pulled one back inside a minute before heading a 74th-minute equaliser. The comeback was complete when Lucio leaped to head home a corner and break American hearts with just five minutes remaining.
The 2003 Confederations Cup was the sixth edition of the tournament and the fourth organised by FIFA. Host nation France would go on to claim their second title, but the competition was completely overshadowed by the tragic death of Cameroon player Marc-Vivien Foe, who collapsed on the the field during his side’s semi-final with Colombia and subsequently passed away from heart failure.
While the events deemed the respective teams' results at the tournament inconsequential, Brazil had a disappointing campaign. Crowned world champions the previous year, the Selecao didn’t even make it past the group stage in France. Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira’s side lost their opener 1-0 to Cameroon and drew 2-2 with Turkey, their sole victory arriving in Lyon as Adriano scored the only goal of the game against USA.
USA’s sole victory over Brazil arrived in 1998 as Brazil were once again invited into the Concacaf Gold Cup. The Selecao were Spearheaded by Romario, as coach Mario Zagallo prepared for the World Cup in France, which would take place a few months later. Brazil had lost just twice since claiming the World Cup in 1994 but stumbled through the group stage, drawing with Jamaica and Guatemala before hammering El Salvador 4-0.
That was enough to book a meeting with the hosts in the semi-final. Brazil made most of the running in Los Angeles but were unable to beat an inspired Kasey Keller in the USA goal, who made a number of stunning saves, notably diving to stop a fierce Ze Maria drive and blocking a Romario header from point-blank range. With the Selecao unable to find a breakthrough, Predrag ‘Preki’ Radosalvjevic made history with 25 minutes to go, dancing away from Flavio Conceicao and hitting a stunning left-footed shot that flew past Taffarel. It was USA’s first goal against Brazil since the two side’s first met in 1930. USA went on to lose 1-0 to Mexico in the final, while Brazil beat Jamaica by the same scoreline to finish in third place.
It was the USA’s coming out party. The World Cup that truly brought soccer to the United States. And, at home, on none other than Independence Day, Brazil came to town on what was a sweltering afternoon at Stanford Stadium. USA had claimed their first World Cup victory since 1950 when they saw off Colombia in the group stage, and they qualified for the knockout round as one the best third-placed teams. But their adventure would end there as the Selecao of Romario, Bebeto, Dunga and Taffarel proved too much.
Brazil had a number of chances but failed to find a breakthrough, and their task was made all the more complicated when Leonardo was handed a straight red card for a vicious elbow on Tab Ramos. Bebeto and Romario formed a formidable partnership throughout the competition and it was the former who grabbed the only goal of the game that afternoon, rolling in following a wonderfully-weighted pass from the latter. “I love you,” Bebeto told Romario as the two celebrated. Brazil went on to beat Italy on penalties in the final to secure their fourth world title.
Neymar's second-half double led Brazil to a 10th consecutive victory over United States as they stormed to a confident 4-1 triumph in a friendly at the Gillette Stadium when the two sides last met. The Brazil captain started among the substitutes but Hulk rose to the occasion by lashing home inside the opening 10 minutes. Brazil soon settled into a counter-attacking rhythm, using the pace of Willian and Douglas Costa to stretch the US defence effectively.
Neymar, who will miss Brazil's opening two World Cup 2018 qualifiers through suspension, only entered the fray for the second half but had an immediate impact, winning a penalty that he converted within six minutes of the restart. Shortly after the hour-mark, Rafinha netted his first international goal and Neymar quickly followed up with his second to take his Brazil tally to 46, before Danny Williams scored a consolation for USA.