Brazil vs. Colombia: Lessons Learned from High-Profile Friendly
Brazil and Colombia battled to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday in one of the best friendlies on a day filled with plenty of them around the globe. The South American rivals will both rue missed chances, but should be content with the result.
Juan Cuadrado gave Colombia the lead just before halftime, but the dynamic Neymar tied it up just after the hour mark and neither side could secure a winner. Let's take a look at some main things fans learned from the match.
Colombia Is Underrated
Not all draws are created equal. Some are earned while others can occur due to a lucky bounce or a single counterattack. Colombia earned its draw with Brazil. Los Cafeteros even controlled the match for a good portion of the first half.
They are currently in third place in CONMEBOL qualifying for the World Cup, ahead of countries like Uruguay and Chile, who have received more attention in recent years. The draw is a sign Colombia isn't going to fade.
Led by rising star Radamel Falcao, they have a deep and experienced pool of players to choose from and many of them are still in their primes. Don't be surprised if they end up making Colombia one of the top World Cup sleepers.
Which side should be more pleased with the result?
Neymar Isn't Automatic
Neymar had a pretty good showing. He scored the tying goal and was his usual dangerous self throughout the match, but when given a chance to grab the lead for Brazil from the penalty spot, he missed. It was shocking.
While one missed penalty certainly won't change the way anybody views him, it's a sign that even the best players can succumb to the pressure. In a practice atmosphere, he probably would have buried that chance every time.
Yet, if Brazil played another match today and needed to take a key penalty, there's no doubt he would be called on again. That said, it will be interesting to see how he responds to the added attention as Brazil gets prepared to host the World Cup.
Work To Do for Brazil
Brazil's lineup for the friendly had a good mix of reliable veterans and talented young players, something every national team strives for. However, it was clear throughout the night that the chemistry just wasn't there quite yet.
Since Brazil automatically qualifies for the World Cup as the host, the Canarinho don't get the benefit of qualifying matches. They have to rely on friendlies, which don't usually have the same intensity, to prepare for 2014.
They have no shortage of talent. It all comes down to getting all of the pieces to fit together over the next 18 months, so they are prepared to defend their home turf. Brazil knows there's room for improvement in every area.
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