Brazil edged to a 2-1 victory over Chile in a closely contested friendly in Tuesday’s friendly in Toronto. Hulk scored the first goal for Brazil with a low, left footed strike from an Oscar pass in the 13th minute, at a moment in the game when Brazil looked destined to steamroll their opponents. Chile, however, weathered the initial storm from Brazil and gained more possession throughout the match, despite obtaining little in the way of high percentage shots on goal. Chile equalized in the 70th minute thanks to a Vargas strike and some sloppy defending from David Luiz, but Brazil managed to find the winning goal nine minutes later when Neymar drifted from the left into the center and fed the ball to Maicon on the right flank, who subsequently crossed to Robinho. Robinho delightfully headed in Maicon’s cross to score his first goal for the national team since 2011.
Neymar delivered a sub-par showing overall despite some bright moments, as did his Barcelona teammate, Chile’s Alexis Sanchez. Hulk, on the other hand, once again illustrated his usefulness to the team as an attacker with another powerful left footed shot that hit the woodwork, just inches from goal. Today’s win over Chile means Brazil have now secured six consecutive victories as Scolari wraps up his preparations for the 2014 World Cup, having already brazenly declared that Brazil will be 2014 World Cup champions after the team’s 5-0 victory against Honduras on Saturday. Brazil have now scored 20 goals in their last six matches, while conceding only two. For Chile, on the other hand, today's defeat at the hands of their South American brethren means the end of an unbeaten run dating back to March of this year.
Chile demonstrated their attacking mentality and technical quality throughout the match, but were generally unable to get behind the Brazilian defense given the persistence of Brazil’s defensive midfielders Luiz Gustavo and Paulinho. Chile did, however, demonstrate that Brazil are susceptible to lapses of concentration that, in combination with missed chances and poor finishing, render them vulnerable to defeat thanks to a single defensive error. Players from both teams exhibited fatigue as the game edged to a close and thereby raised the question of whether today’s generation of players will be at peak fitness as the World Cup approaches, particularly given the physical demands imposed on them by their league fixtures. Overall, however, today’s match delivered a great result for Brazil but a mediocre performance from both teams, who will need to consider how to ensure their players stay rested and injury free as they continue to slot in national friendlies alongside their club commitments during the final phase of preparation for World Cup 2014.