Game in sentence
A thrilling Quarterfinal in Newcastle sees Brazil narrowly overcome
10 9 man Honduras in a contender for game of the tournament.
- With Japan and Mexico already through to the semi-finals, the third match up of the day featured a stark contrast in style. Brazil’s blend of veterans – Thiago, Hulk, Marcelo – and young superstars – Neymar, Rafael, Oscar - resulted in the most exciting team to watch thus far in the tournament. Honduras’ workman like approach was the opposite, eliminating space in the midfield and relying on a trio of MLS players - Bengtson, Espinoza and Naja – to find goals where they could. Ask Spain how frustrating the Hondurans were to play against.
- The opening 10 minutes of the match was dominated by the Brazilians. Leandro Damião had a clear chance at goal under a minute in. The wizardry of Chelsea newboy Oscar was also on display, dropping in beautifully weighted balls in the box for Neymar, who couldn’t capitalize.
- And yet, shockingly, it was Honduras who opened the scoring in the 12th minute. Excellent work by Roger Espinoza on the left side of the pitch resulted in an opportunity for new Seattle Sounder Mario Martinez. He would make no mistake, lofting the ball into to the far right corner of the net – shocking the fans at St.James Park, including FIFA czar Sepp Blatter.
- Disaster for Honduras in the 32nd minute. Two yellow cards to Wilmer Crisanto – both occurring inside a minute – would make a tough task that much harder. The Hondurans were forced to adopt a 4-4-1, with Jerry Bengston the lone striker.
- Six minutes later the Brazilians equalized. Damião was the benefactor of a daring run by Hulk, who drew the goalkeeper out before passing the ball into the middle. A brief scramble ceased when Damião tapped the ball into the empty net. The sense that the flood gates were about to open was palpable.
- So much for the floodgates. Espinoza did it again, opening the second half with a low left footed strike to put the Hondurans up 2-1. Unbelievable.
- PENALTY. Damião is brought down in the box by a clumsy challenge from Velasquez. Neymar puts it home. 2-2. Blinking was ill advised today. You may have missed a lot. German Referee Felix Brych – he of the dubiously officiated first leg Champions leg match between Chelsea and Barcelona – has some questions to answer, a debatable penalty at best.
- He’s everywhere. Damião makes a lovely turn off a Neymar pass, lobbing the ball over the Honduran keeper.3-2 Brazil. Spirit shattered, Honduras’ valiant effort looked to be for naught.
- They didn’t quit. Espinoza nearly tied the game in the 65th minute, but was thwarted by a last second challenge from Thiago – there’s a reason PSG broke the bank for the Brazilian defender, arguably the best in the world.
- Brazilian midfielder Romulo, already on a yellow, charges into Espinoza but goes unpunished. Another dubious decision in a game littered with them.
- Playing a man down basically eliminated Honduran striker Jerry Bengston from the game. Honduras’ only goal scorer in the group stage was rendered irrelevant by excellent marking from Thiago and a lack of support in the midfield.
- Depending on how Roberto Di Matteo chooses to use him, Oscar should be an immediate fan favourite at Stamford Bridge. The vision is incredible, the skill set equally so. Perennially overshadowed by Neymar, Oscar is a name to remember as we move on to the domestic club season in late August.
- Man of the match Roger Espinoza draws his second yellow of the game in the 90th minute. Honduras exits the tournaments with their heads held high. After losing all three games in Beijing, the Central Americans provided the shock of the tournament with the their defeat of Spain and nearly beat Brazil against most odds.
- Going forward Brazil must be careful. Their defending has been lackluster and though they have the skill to overcome deficits, it will be harder against teams like Mexico when the medals are on the line.
1. Roger Espinoza
2. Leandro Damião