Samba stars turn on the style – Brazil blanks Chile 3-0

June 29th, 2010

Robinho celebrates Brazil's brilliant third after his sublime shot sailed into the back of the net (Photo: Reuters)

Robinho’s increasingly impressive progress through a World Cup illuminated by Brazil will perhaps have been noted with as much enthusiasm in Manchester and Abu Dhabi as it has in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

With his image and reputation on the floor when he was bounced out of Manchester City in January, it has taken time for the world to be reminded of his remarkable natural gifts.

There is no better stage than the greatest show on earth to restore oneself in the eyes of the world, and at this rate Robinho will be placed up for auction by City in two weeks with a few extra millions on his value.

Robinho, on loan at Brazilian club Santos, will be sold this summer. Of that there is no doubt. Now, though, there may well be a few clubs who wish to buy him.

That wasn’t the case six months ago and anyone who ever dealt with Robinho in his 18 months at Eastlands knew the problem, of course. Having been shoved towards City when a move to Chelsea from Real Madrid collapsed, he never had any love for the club, never wanted to be there. His attitude was subsequently poor and, for all but a few early weeks in England, he just wanted to get out.

At the moment he looks a player reborn. The 23-year-old was superb on Monday night, the star of a sublime Brazil performance that did justice to this stage and their magnificent World Cup history.

After central defender Juan had headed coach Dunga’s team into a 34th-minute lead, Robinho combined beautifully with Kaka to set up Luis Fabiano four minutes later. Then, just before the hour, Robinho curled in one of the goals of the tournament.

But the moment that summed up Robinho’s attitude right now came just after half-time as he tracked back to Brazil’s penalty area to break up a Chile attack.

Dunga said: ‘I am very happy to have players like Robinho in my team, players who will undertake the tasks I ask of them. Robinho has the right attitude and I couldn’t ask for more from him.’

Rested for the final group game against Portugal , Robinho demanded the ball and looked to link quickly and sharply with Kaka and, in particular, Luis Fabiano.

When he is in this mood, he seems to have a perfect understanding of angles and weight of pass.

He showed it within five minutes as he turned neatly and threaded a perfect ball through to Luis Fabiano, who couldn’t find a finish.

For a brief period, one wondered if Chile could draw Brazil’s sting as English referee Howard Webb denied Lucio a clear penalty, then Chile striker Humberto Suazo wasted a good chance when played into space.

But a crashing header from Juan gave Brazil the lead, and the five-times champions added a special goal four minutes later.

Robinho cut in from the left to find Kaka, the Real Madrid kingpin played in Luis Fabiano first time and the No 9 rounded goalkeeper Claudio Bravo to register his third goal of the tournament.

It was a goal of brilliant simplicity, but it was bettered just before the hour. This time the architect was Benfica midfielder Ramires as he broke from deep and at pace through the middle, rode three challenges and set up Robinho 18 yards from goal.

Robinho stroked the ball into the corner with a first-time sweep of his right foot. It doesn’t come much better.

There could have been more. Robinho fizzed another angled drive inches wide, full back Maicon missed by a similarly narrow margin from 35 yards and, right at the end, left back Michel Bastos drove forwards to threaten yet another superb goal.

Having started their tournament with a 2-1 win over North Korea, Brazil have grown steadily and this was easily their best display yet.

Kaka’s form will be of concern. He over-hit one simple pass by about 15 yards early in the second half and that spoke volumes for his uncertainty.

That apart, though, Brazil are progressing smoothly. Holland are up next in Port Elizabeth on Friday. The Dutch will need to bring their ‘A’ game

MATCH FACTS

BRAZIL (4-3-1-2): Julio Cesar 6; Maicon 6, Lucio 7, Juan 7, Michel Bastos 6; Dani Alves 6, Gilberto Silva 6, Ramires 7; Kaka 6 (Kleberson 80min, 6); Luis Fabiano 7,
Robinho 8 (Gilberto Melo 85, 6).
Booked: Kaka, Ramires.
CHILE (4-3-3): Bravo 7; Isla 6 (Millar 62, 6), Contreras 6 (Tello 45, 6), Jara 6, Fuentes 7; Vidal 7, Carmona 6, Beausejour 7; Sanchez 7, Suazo 6, Gonzalez 6 (Valdivia 45, 6).
Booked: Vidal, Fuentes, Millar.
Man of the match: Robinho
Referee: Howard Webb (England).

Source: Daily Mail

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