One might argue that Brazil did not have the services of the major players who are playing club football back in Europe due to COVID-19 restrictions, but on paper Selecao still looked like a formidable unit. And, with someone like Neymar around, obviously, the in-form Brazilian unit was expected to play in a commendable fashion against Chile, who, so far, have cut an unsatisfactory figure. Well, it was not a night to remember for Brazil despite earning full points.

Tite fielded an extremely strong side with the Olympic star Bruno Guimaraes earning his name in the first XI along with Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior for the first time.

Marquinhos and Eder Militao were in front of Weverton, while Danilo and Alex Sandro joined them at the flanks. In the midfield, Casemiro was the partner of Guimaraes while Lucas Paqueta and Vinicius moved up in the wide midfield region as attacking options. Gabigol was joined by Neymar in the attacking positions in a 4-2-2-2 formation.

Chile fielded a compact side that opted for the 5-3-2 formation.

Despite, Gabriel racing down the right and squaring the ball towards Vinicius, who would have had an open goal had Diaz not hacked clear, the home team settled quickly and put the visitors on the back foot as soon as the referee blew the whistle.

Chile attacked twice down the right and failed to break through, fortunate the first time-  Neymar’s pass could not find Gabigol in the box after great work from Guimaraes.

Chile needed a far better end product from Isla who got into a crossing position four or five times but struggled to create anything. A sustained spell of Chile pressure came to nothing as Vidal was offside on the same right flank.

Again Isla showed up, fed by the influential Aranguiz, but Alex Sandro blocked his latest attempt at a cross. The corner was taken short, working room on the edge of the box for Pulgar’s shot, which was charged down.

Chile were winning all the tackles – First, Neymar was surrounded halfway, allowing the home side to attack and then when Vargas gave possession away, Vidal lunged in on Vinicius and won the ball.

Vargas put Brazil under pressure but Weverton came good – The Chile striker was a long way out when he let fly, with the ball clearing the crossbar by a distance. The Brazil goalkeeper – usually third-choice – still launches into a full-length dive, though – a scary moment for Brazil that was handled bravely by Weverton.

Isla delivered well this time and Guimaraes had to intervene, diverting the cross behind for a corner. Again, Chile worked it smartly, but again a shot from the edge of the box was blocked.

It was time for Weverton to save Brazil, again!

The Brazilian shot-stopper was at the centre of the action! Vidal hammers in a free-kick, which the goalkeeper parried as far as Vargas, who headed goal-wards but is also denied. The ball came back into the box from the right and Weverton fumbled, but Brazil escape and then the keeper went down for treatment.

Chile thought they had a smartly constructed opener, but the flag was up and Morales was denied a first international strike.

Vidal’s cross was volleyed on by Mena for Morales to prod beyond Weverton, who took another knock.

Mena was clearly offside.

Aranguiz and Vidal were causing real problems for Brazil. They failed to disrupt the former, who knocked the ball wide to Mena, and the latter was a real goal threat, seizing on a pass and creating space to fire in another effort. Weverton just parried away.

At the stroke of halftime, a sloppy spell in the midfield third came to an end as Vinicius drove forward and teed up Casemiro, but his shot was straightforward for Bravo. Then Chile attacked down the right, only for Vargas to direct his drilled cross straight into the arms of Weverton.

Chile ended the first half on top and dominated the possession by 65% to Brazil’s35%.

Brazil melted under pressure and the lack of spark from the centre of the park and players up front put enormous pressure on the backline and goalkeeper, who kept Brazil alive in the match.

The first big chance in the first 45 minutes for Brazil came via a counter through Gabigol who had the fewest touches after Weverton, charged into the Chile half and found Neymar all alone on the left. He took his time, running onto the pass and shooting the first time, but blazed over from just inside the box with only Bravo to beat – it seems, the finishing abilities of Neymar are deteriorating day by day.

After the break, Chile maintained the pressure, still, Brazil found a bit of space to exploit, where Paqueta, playing out of position in the wide attacking midfield region, wasted a shot.

Tite decided to inject Everton Ribeiro and Gerson.

The shape remained 4-4-2 in a compact fashion whereas, in such a pressing game, a 4-3-3 option was the order of the day.

Chile mixed it up with a long ball from Bravo to Morales, but the play from there was wonderfully intricate. A square pass found Vidal, who shaped to shoot but instead teased a pass into Aranguiz. The midfielder appeared to have space inside the box to finish, only for Alex Sandro to lunge in – a vital block.

The unimpressive Neymar over-hit a pass through to Gabigol.

Pulgar’s switch to Isla at the other end was far more impressive, but there was nobody in the box to meet his header.

Ribeiro took a pass from Danilo in the area, turned and feinted right to create a path to goal. But Aranguiz got his body across the ball and won a foul before the substitute could get a shot off.

Casemiro, the captain for the match, seized on a heavy touch from Pulgar and had Gabigol to his right and Neymar to his left but played a ball straight down the middle, to a Chile defender.

Finally, Brazil broke the deadlock after an hour.

A patient move on the right, clicked through the gears as Danilo advanced and squared towards Neymar, who flicked on to Ribeiro. A first-time pass back to Neymar created space for a shot, which Bravo blocked but only as far as the waiting Ribeiro, who netted the opener from the rebound.

Chile and Santiago were stunned, but they kept up their tempo – Vidal’s quick feet in the area created space for a pass, which found Vargas. He ignored Mena on the overlap, though, and instead fired in a shot, which was deflected up in the air for Weverton to claim.

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Brazil realized that Chile would come by all guns blazing and thus, focused on getting behind the ball as much as possible and remain compact so that they can defend their hard-earned lead and ultimately they did. Chile played better than Brazil, but football is a game where scoring goals matters.

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