By Lisa Flueckiger, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s national football (soccer) team narrowly won their last friendly game ahead of the Copa America championship against Honduras with 1-0 in Porto Alegre yesterday (June 10th). The only goal of the game came from Hoffenheim’s Roberto Firmino.
It was a sluggish game that the Seleção showed the 22,305 spectators, who had to watch ninety minutes in the rain. The first half was the more animated one, with several newer players in the team who wanted to show their worth ahead of the Copa America.
The first chance for the Brazilian team came after a nicely rehearsed free kick taken by Philippe Coutinho, who found David Luiz up front. After that, Coutinho and Willian, the driving forces in midfield, kept pressing for a goal.
Then, a nice double-pass between Coutinho and Filipe Luís ultimately found Firmino in the front after 32 minutes and the Hoffenheim player scored what would remain the only goal of the game.
The second half was significantly less animated, even though captain and fan favorite Neymar entered the pitch. The Barcelona player had missed the first friendly game of the national team and almost all their training, as he had to remain in Europe for the Champions League final on June 6th, which Barcelona won.
Also chances to gain a few minutes in the second half were given to full back Thiago Silva and midfielder Douglas Costa. A little later on, Robinho, who recovered from a slight injury, and Marquinhos also came on in what G1 called the “laziest game in the new era of Dunga.”
The next game for the Seleção will be their opening game of this year’s Copa America on June 14th against Peru. The team will be joined by Barcelona’s Daniel Alves replacing Porto’s Danilo, who injured his ankle in the friendly against Mexico and will be unable to play the championship. It is the first call-up for Alves under Dunga.
The likely line-up for the game will include Jefferson in the goal, David Luiz and Miranda as center backs, Fabinho and Filipe Luís as right and left backs respectively, making up the defense. If Dunga keeps his 4-2-3-1 formation, Elias and Fernandinho will likely play behind Willian, Philippe Coutinho and maybe Neymar with Roberto Firmino up front, otherwise with another midfielder like Fred and Neymar up front.