It may not have been the offensive display expected between Brazil and Colombia, but the Brazilians will certainly take the result, as an early Vinícius Araújo goal was all the country needed to win the Toulon Tournament final, 1-0.
Colombia—which has made a habit of going down early before surging back in the second-half in this tournament—simply couldn't muster many strong scoring chances or crack the Brazilian defense.
Araújo struck in the fourth minute. A corner was deflected off a back-heel flick into the center of the box and Araújo pounced, beating two Colombian defenders and keeper Cristian Bonilla with a quick redirection in traffic.
It was poor marking from the Colombians and a poor way to open the match.
Colombia was dealt a blow in the 29th minutes, as Harrison Mojica—the star of the show against the United States—had to leave the match with an injury. Luis Mena came on to replace him.
Rafa Alcântara nearly set up a second goal for Brazil in the 35th minute. His brilliant, sliding through ball for Araújo sent the forward alone on goal, but Bonilla did well to cut the angle and Araújo couldn't beat the Colombian keeper.
For two teams you would expect to be dangerous in the attack, neither team was particularly threatening in the final third. Each side pressed forward, but both defenses played well and much of the first half played out as a battle for possession in the midfield.
Colombia's attack came to life in the early moments of the second half, as the team earned two corners in the first six minutes and generally had more success breaking through the Brazilian midfield. Cracking the Brazilian defense, however, continued to prove a more vexing endeavor.
Giovanni would have the first shot on goal in the second half, but the Brazilian's effort from the edge of the box was handled easily by Bonilla.
Colombia would earn a dangerous free kick from just outside the 18 in the 54th minute, but Cristian Palomeque's strong free kick was saved nicely by a sparawling Alisson and there wasn't another Colombia player in position to take advantage of a small rebound after the shot.
Brazil earned their own free kick outside of the box in the 56th minute, but Bonilla pushed a strong Alcântara shot over the ball.
Wallace would nearly double the lead for Brazil in the 66th minute, but his header off a corner was sent just wide off a Colombian deflection. Brazil could do nothing with the second corner, and the game remained 1-0.
Brazil again threatened in the 74th minute. After Alcântara did well to draw a foul at the end of a nice run, Danilo ripped a shot toward the lower right side of the net. But Bonilla was up to the task, making a vital save and keeping his side in the match.
Colombia would earn a stoppage time corner, but once again the Brazilian defense held strong and preserved the 1-0 win.
Men of the Match: The Brazilian Defense
Colombia has presented one of the most dangerous attacks in this tournament, evidenced by the fact that the team won all of its group games and exploded for three second-half goals against France after initially trailing.
But Brazil's back four never cracked, and the Brazilian midfield stifled Colombia's midfield play, a combination that proved too daunting for Colombia to crack. The defense in particular was phenomenal, as Colombia often tested them in the final third—especially in the second half—but routinely couldn't even put a shot on goal.
A fine performance from Brazil at the back.
For Colombia, it's off to the FIFA 13 U-20 World Cup starting on June 21 in Turkey. Brazil will have to savor this Toulon Tournament win, however, as the team failed to qualify for the U-20 World Cup, a major disappointment seeing as the country won the 2011 tournament.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!