Brazil 0 – Venezuela 0: Halftime

Venezuela, emulating Bolivia’s “park the bus” strategy against Argentina, have so far managed to hold Brazil scoreless.

The reigning South American champions have dominated possession but only created three chances. In the 27th minute, Alexandre Pato’s thundering shot rattled off the crossbar and back into play. A few minutes later, Robinho’s placed shot beat the ‘keeper only for Venezuela’s Vizcarrondo to save the day with a well-timed slide in front of the goal-line. Brazil’s players screamed for a handball but from the replays it looked like the defender made a barely legal play with his chest and part of his shoulder. I’ve seen penalties given for similar offenses. Still, it would have been a harsh call.

In the 45th, Ganso’s good pass found Neymar  clean through on goal but the young starlet’s lofted shot sailed well-wide. He really should have hit the back of the net.

Don’t let the hair fool you. Neymar is an excellent player. He just needs to shoot a little more.

Venezuela have had precious few chances. They seem happy to boot the ball into the Brazilian half and hope for a goal on the counter or from a set-piece.

Brazil’s “4-3-3” is really more a 4-2-3-1 with Pato alone up front, Robinho wide on the right, Neymar on the left, and Ganso in the hole. They will have to push further up to crack Venezuela’s defense. Coach Menezes is being far too cautious with the wonderful attacking quartet he has. Pato has made some excellent runs but Robinho is wasted this far away from goal. Ganso’s passing has been impressive. Neymar has had some good moments as well. He needs to be a little more selfish and take more shots instead of looking for the killer pass in the box.

I predict Brazil will score one or two goals in the second half and hang on for the win.

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About Nicholas Nehamas

Journalist and soccer fan. I write on politics, culture, business and sports.
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