Fernandinho’s Brazil through to the last eight
- 28 June 2014 20:02
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc
Fernandinho made his first ever World Cup start and helped his team book their place in the quarter-finals.
An intoxicating, hot-blooded, end-to-end encounter kicked off the second round in exhilarating fashion and it was the hosts who just managed to pull through.
Brazil took the lead courtesy of a David Luiz goal after 18 minutes, Alexis Sanchez levelled on the half-hour mark and there was no further scoring in normal time, or extra-time.
Penalties were required to determine the first team through to the last eight and it was Brazil who prevailed by a 3-2 scoreline after ex-Nottingham Forest defender Gonzalo hit the post with the last of their regulation five spot-kicks.
In normal time, it was a typically dedicated and breathless display from City’s sole Seleção representative, Fernandinho, as he contributed to a mesmerizing match played at a relentless pace.
His afternoon ended after 71 minutes when he came off injured, although encouragingly, he was able to run off the field on his own stream and didn’t require treatment on the pitch.
There was a nervous wait for City’s Londrina-born man to find out if he’d done enough in his stunning 45 minute cameo against Cameroon to earn a start.
In that match he replaced Paulinho at the break and played an instrumental role in the creation of Fred’s game-defining third goal and then supplied the fourth himself, putting the finishing touches on a sublime move to make it 4-1.
"Happily, the news was good for the 28-year old and he lined up in the centre of midfield alongside Luiz Gustavo, displacing Tottenham’s Paulinho in Phil Scolari’s XI as the Brazil boss called upon Fernandinho’s pace and lung-power to combat Chile's hyperactive midfield."
...Brazil v Chile: Match report...
It was the realisation of a long-held dream for the 28-year old, as anyone who has watched our exclusive “Dream in my Heart” documentary series here on mcfc.co.uk will know.
Heavy-handed CityTV plugs aside, the midfielder is no prize winner but has earned his starting berth on merit thanks to a sensational first season in England and some eye-catching displays in canary yellow.
Another spine-tingling acapella rendition of the Brazilian national anthem preceded kick-off at Estádio Mineirão for a fixture the visitors harboured painful recent memories from.
In 1998 and 2010, Chile’s World Cup hopes were ended by the five-time champions at this stage, so it was very much seen as a revenge mission for Jorge Sampaoli’s men in this all-South American encounter.
Any fears that this clash of styles would fail to live up to the billing were quickly dismissed as the match exploded into life from Howard Webb’s first whistle when Chile’s red swarm-of-bees collided with waves of yellow emotion.
Fernandinho was perhaps fortunate to escape an early booking for a late challenge on Charles Aranguiz, before Webb (correctly) denied Brazil a penalty when Hulk was felled in the area after 13 minutes.
Five minutes later, Scolari’s men did take the lead from a set piece.
Neymar’s corner from the left-wing was flicked on by Thiago Silva and then turned in by Luiz at the back post for his first international goal.
Despite the deficit, Chile’s physicality and counter-attacking gameplan was pouring sand onto Brazil’s creative juices which allowed them to gain a foothold in the match and they were level on the half-hour mark.
Marcelo took a throw-in deep in Brazil territory and when Hulk lost track of the ball, Vargas pounced and played in Alexis Sanchez.
The Barcelona forward didn’t require a second invitation, dispatching it into the bottom far corner with a measured, nonchalant finish.
This frenetic pace was kept up after the break and Fernandinho nearly scored his second World Cup goal in as many matches three minutes after the restart.
Though he was always falling backwards as he went to strike his effort from 25 yards, he still sent Bravo scrambling across goal with his thumping right-footed drive which flew narrowly wide of the target.
Brazil were up in arms after 55 minutes when Webb ruled out Hulk’s close range finish for handball but replays to show whether he actually cushioned the ball reflected favourably on the Premier League's official's decision.
Ex-City striker Jo replaced Fred with just under 30 minutes left to play and Fernandinho was withdrawn ten minutes later, limping off the field to be replaced by Ramires.
Finally, the pace seemed to slow as the match entered a stage where any goal may well have proved terminal to the other side’s ambitions.
There was time left for Bravo to pull off a magnificent save to deny Hulk with seven minutes left on the clock and the tie went to extra-time.
Fans had to wait until the last second of the additional 30 minutes for a meaningful chance and Chile were within an inch of dumping out the hosts but Mauricio Pinilla saw his rocket of a shot come back off the crossbar.
It went to penalties and it was Brazil who came out on top, thanks to Neymar’s nerveless fifth spot-kick and Jara’s miss.
They will face the victors of Uruguay v Colombia in another all-South American knockout match.