The Samba storm blows away Venezuela with their Jogo Bonito

June 15, 2021

The reemergence of the Jogo Bonito into the world stage lighted up our hearts and television screens at around 2:30 a.m. Indian Standard Time when the likes of Neymar, Marquinhos, Casemiro along with the entire Selecao with their boss Tite or as Brazilians call him El Professor wrote a poetry of a match for us to savor against Venezuela. A slice of the Samba was evident from the way Neymar dodged the ball against his opponents legs doing a rabona just to gain back the possession took our sleep away and lulled us into repose for 90 minutes and gave us an ecstasy for the entire day.

The CONMEBOL Copa America 2021 kicked off with a bang amongst the COVID-19 crisis in Latin America with the last minute venue change conundrum and made the football fans all around the world realize that why losing sleep for the next month or so is going to be totally worth. The Venezuela national side reported a double digit COVID cases in their national team camp last week and had to announce a squad of only 15 players who are fit to compete and is presumably one of the reasons why they were not up to giving their hundred percent onto the pitch.

The hosts before stealing the show were not looking that good with the ball from the opening minutes of the play as Venezuela stood their ground defending with three centre backs and five midfielders dropping down to defend inside the penalty area whenever Brazil got hold of the possession thus putting Richarlison and Gabriel Jesus in a position of chaos. Neymar’s usual run-ins inside the oppositions half and Fred and Lucas Paqueta trying to attract more and more players towards the central position so that Neymar can actively make his errands into the spaces that he likes to exploit the most and make the best out of it. The Venezuelan’s with their very limited attacking options could not afford to have gone to the offensive formations as they would have liked but Brazil being a real balanced side proved to be the masters of stretching their defense and getting into their heads.

The Selecao took only 22 minutes to make the headline in their name as around the 23rd minute when Venezuela conceded a corner kick which they did for six times in the first half alone. Neymar stepped up to get the job done as he pinned the ball around the six yard box and it fell into Marquinhos’ thigh and with the Venezuela goalkeeper, Joel Graterol stumbling into the wrong direction, the centre back made no mistake and nabbed the ball home. The event that took place two minutes after the goal was similar to the previous one in terms of execution and could have put Brazil with a comfortable lead before the half-way mark but only to Neymar and Richarlison’s disappointment the goal was ruled out due to offside.

Marquinhos celebrating his goal

The commencement of the second half came with two changes from Tite among them one was a change due to card issues as Everton Ribeiro came into replace Lucas Paqueta and Alex Sandro was subbed in place of Renan Lodi which by far can be seen as a tactical change. Neymar was seen to be making similar crosses inside the box to reach Richarlison but Brazil was not able to show for their great efforts time and again until a bit later within which the likes of Ribeiro guided a good cross in for Richarlison and Jesus fizzed a dangerous cross into the six yard box for Neymar at the far post but it went wide of the target.

Venezuela ended up getting so fixated of gaining back the possession and keeping it to themselves that they did not realize until later that what hit them as they slacked a lot in their defense and got stretched as a result of it and fell right into Tite’s trap. Cumana crashing into Danilo in order to stop him inside the penalty area just to stop him from making a cross towards the centre is just what Brazil needed and they handed it to the hosts in a silver platter. At the 64th minute Neymar took the penalty with his style of stuttering a run-up just to confuse the goalkeeper and sent the Venezuelan custodian to the wrong way and put the ball to the far left corner and stepped up his country 2 up in the scoreboard.

Brazil’s Neymar celebrates after scoring against Venezuela during the Conmebol Copa America 2021 football tournament group phase match at the Mane Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia on June 13, 2021. (Photo by NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP) (Photo by NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP via Getty Images)

The third change for Brazil was made a couple of moments later of getting a comfortable lead as Tite brought in Gabriel Barbosa to replace Richarlison whose night did not go as he had hoped it would be with all those missed chances but Tite’s judgement was quite appropriate to put Venezuela in their place once and for all as they forced the visiting side to go deeper into their own half. When the clock showed almost 70 minutes of the play being over the Venezuelans started making bad mistakes out of frustration and earned a couple of yellow cards as a result wherein their captain Aristeguieta tried to get the ball into the Brazils half quite a lot of times but was always caught between three Brazilian defenders.

The final goal of the night came at the back of the hosts breaking into counter attack a couple of times but just to be directed away from reaching their final step. But at the 89th minute Graterol rushed out of his box to close Neymar down who pulled the ball back for Gabi Barbosa as he got a simple tap-in and hiked the score line3-0. The hosts therefore did not suffer any upsets and Tite’s legion of warriors had fought hard and break the Venezuelan defense like cutting a cake with a butter knife and kicked off their 2021 Copa America campaign ushering a sense of glory for the fans to sit back and enjoy and bathe in it until they would reach their final objective. Venezuela on the other hand plagued with the absence of key players due to COVID suffered a whole lot more than they would have expected it to be.

Brazil’s Gabriel Barbosa (R) celebrates with teammate Neymar after scoring against Venezuela during the Conmebol Copa America 2021 football tournament group phase match at the Mane Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia on June 13, 2021. (Photo by NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP) (Photo by NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP via Getty Images)

Team News:

BRAZIL: Alisson; Danilo, Militao, Marquinhos, Lodi; Paqueta, Casemiro(C), Fred; Jesus, Richarlison, Neymar

Subs: Sandro, Ribeiro, Barbosa, Fabinho, Vinicius Junior, Weverton, Ederson, Thiago Silva, Emerson, Felipe, Everton, Firmino

VENEZUELA: Graterol; Gonzalez, Martinez, Mantia, Pino, Cumana; Martinez, Moreno, Manzano, Casseres Jr; Aristeguieta(C)

Subs: Cordova, Celis, Castillo, Hernandez, Farinez, Romero, Murillo