Audacious Chile pay for attacking Brazil
Johannesburg: Few teams have the audacity to attack Brazil and their 3-0 World Cup second-round win over Chile on Monday showed what happens to those who do.
Chile boldly tried to go where few have gone before, fielding three forwards against the five-times world champions, and taking the game to their fellow South Americans.
It was good while it lasted. But after a bright opening half hour, Chile were ruthlessly pulled apart by a team who have taken the art of counter-attacking to a new level and mercilessly punish the slightest mistake.
Brazil coach Dunga has complained that most teams field an ultra-cautious approach when facing his side, almost implying that there is something morally wrong about such tactics.
But, after seeing his team give ponderous, pedestrian displays against the massed ranks of North Korea and Portugal, and then turn on the style against the fearless Chileans, it is hard to imagine why any of Brazil`s opponents would want to be so obliging.
Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa, who in three years has turned his team from a squabbling rabble into one of the best teams in South America, is a man who cannot bring himself to field a defensive formation.
However, on Monday he appeared to play straight into Brazil`s hands.
Lesser teams, including Colombia, Venezuela and Bolivia, managed to hold Brazil to goalless draws in the World Cup qualifiers by packing their defences and challenging Brazil to find a way through.
Those who attacked, including Uruguay and Chile themselves, were taken to the cleaners.
Chile actually dominated the early stages and looked threatening.
But, even then, there was a sense of the inevitable about what was to come as their final pass lacked punched and the imposing Brazil defence, led by Lucio and Juan, gave nothing away.
With Brazil looking dangerous at set pieces, when they threw forward a phalanx of towering players, Chile looked as if they were prodding a sleeping lion with a sharp instrument.
Before Chile could realise what was happening, the game was over as a contest, Brazil taking a two-goal lead in classic Dunga-era style with a header from a corner by Juan and a superbly executed counter-attack, finished off by Luis Fabiano.
After that, it was a matter of how many they would score.
To their credit, Chile never gave up, Bielsa replacing defender Pablo Contreras with forward Jorge Valdivia at halftime, but their attacks repeatedly buffeted against the Brazil defence.
Even when they did get through the back line, they were confronted by Julio Cesar -- arguably the world`s best goalkeeper.
On admittedly rare occasions, too, they looked like they wanted to walk the ball into the net instead of simply crashing it home with the goal at their mercy.
Brazil added one more but could easily have doubled their tally, looking as if they could score with every attack.
Ivory Coast coach Sven-Goran Eriksson warned, after seeing his team lose 3-1 in a group game, that teams need to be perfect to beat Brazil. That message looked truer than ever on Monday.