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"In any language, the whole world is united by a ball." --- Steve Amoia, Publisher.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Brasil 3 x Mexico 1: "Friendly" at Gillette Stadium

It was difficult to believe what I saw tonight on Telemundo. Mexico, playing a game in the United States of America, as a visiting team, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA. The announced crowd was almost 68,000, a sell-out, on a Wednesday night outside of Boston. This was an attendance record for soccer at this facility. An incredible night for futebol and futbol in North America.

On a beautiful pitch (although it was natural grass placed over the usual artificial surface), in a sea of canary yellow shirts, with samba drums producing a steady beat, Brasil was the "home" team. As Andres Cantor said, "There is a multitude of Brasilians from all over the Northeast." Alejandro Blanco added, "I've never seen anything like this. When they played the Brasilian anthem, it was like being in Maracana."

In recent years, Mexico has dominated this match up. In fact, during the last seven games between the two historic rivals, Mexico had won four, tied twice, and only lost one time. Mexico was the last team to beat Brasil, and that was at the Copa America in Venezuela.

Guillermo Ochoa, the young Mexican keeper, had three excellent saves in the first 20 minutes on shots by Kaka' and Ronaldinho Gaucho. But against the run of play, in the 42nd minute, Nery Castillo passed to Andres Guardado, who flashed by Julio Cesar and a defender, and quickly found a wide-open Juan Cacho in front of the goal to score. Brasil equalized immediately with Kleber from a corner kick. The first half ended drawn, 1 x 1.

Brasil played with more urgency in the second half. Ochoa, once again, made some great saves. But in the 79th minute, Ricardo Kaka', from a cross by Maicon that was not cleared properly by Rafael Marquez, was gifted from just in front of the goal. Two minutes later, Elano of Brasil received a direct red card for a terrible foul on Gerardo Torrado. In the 85th minute, on a swift counter-attack, Afonso Alves blasted a strike into the right corner for the third Brasilian goal. Then Dunga, the Brasilian coach, was ejected for some comments he made to the fourth official just before the game ended.

Far from being a friendly, five yellows and one red card were issued during this match.

Brasil, Brasil, Brasil... ;-)

For video highlights, please click here.

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