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This blog reflects on soccer qua football all over the world. The blog has a specific investment in attractive, attacking football and, as such, focuses on Brazil, the most emphatic historical exponent of the beautiful game.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Underdogs Corinthians Beat Chelsea 1-0 In Club World Cup Final

Corinthians came away with a dramatic 1-0 victory against Chelsea in the Club World Cup Final in Yokohama, Japan in a hard fought, pacy match marked by high quality, attacking play from both sides. Chelsea claimed more in the way of dangerous, high percentage chances on goal in the first half. In the 11th minute, Gary Cahill had a shot narrowly saved off the line by Corinthians goalkeeper Cassio while in the 38th minute, Cassio similarly made a remarkable save from a Victor Moses shot delivered from near the left side of the box. Chelsea coach Rafael Benitez elected to field a midfield composed of Ramires, Lampard, Victor Moses and Eden Hazard, with Oscar starting the match on the bench.

Early in the second half, the tide gradually turned toward Corinthians as the Brazilian team took control of midfield and sought to unleash their colorful strikers Emerson Sheik and Paolo Guerrero. Paulinho predictably orchestrated the transition from defensive to attacking midfield and was joined by left full-back Fabio Santos and striker Henrique in putting pressure on the Chelsea defense.  In the 69th minute, Corinthians finally broke through with an attack on the right flank leading to a flick and a pass from Paulinho that subsequently fell to Danilo, whose deflected shot was headed into the back of the net by Paolo Guerrero.

Chelsea piled on the pressure in the remaining twenty minutes. The Blues came very close to equalizing on a number of occasions, but Fernando Torres was unable to convert in the final instance. The victory by Corinthians represented the first win by a South American team since the 2006 Club World Cup, when Internacional beat Barcelona 1-0. The victory marks a powerful affirmation of South American football and an example of a well organized Brazilian team that knows how to defend as well as attack. Despite having few superstars in their lineup, Corinthians delivered a fantastic performance marked by teamwork, disciplined defending, pacy attacks and a fluid transition from defense to offense. Given the club's performance in recent years, coach Tite may well be on the CBF's list as a potential coach for the Brazilian national team in the future.

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