Brazil vs. Haiti Recap: Seleção Dominate, But Still Incomplete

Copa America Centenario Group B’s Brazil vs. Haiti match went just about as most people expected. Brazil’s skill was far too much for the Haitians to overcome and this match became a blowout very quickly.

Brazil vs. Haiti Recap

Philippe Coutinho had himself a brace within a half hour thanks to a blistering shot in the 14th minute and a tap in after a surgical strike in the 29th. Sloppy Haiti clearing and sloppier defending provided Renato Augusto with a wide open header in the 35th. Brazil scored four more times in the second half with Gabriel getting in on the party in the 59th minute, Lucas Lima did so in the 67th, Augusto scored his brace in the 86th, and Coutinho notching a hat trick in stoppage time.

Haiti did score their historic first ever Copa America goal in the 70th minute with a wonderful shot from James Marcelin, but it was little more than a consolation in this humbling experience. Haiti is now eliminated from Copa America after two matches and will look to spoil Ecuador‘s chances at the quarterfinals on Sunday.

The real take from this match was Brazil’s complete and utter dominance of Haiti. While we know the Seleção have the potential to be one of the best national teams in the world, they were thought to have brought a weaker side to the USA for this special tournament. So, what did we really learn about Brazil in this match? They completely destroyed a lower end CONCACAF nation as they were expected to. Did they show any kind of remarkable improvement over their near defeat against Ecuador, or was this result merely the effect of taking on a bad team?

We learned that they have plenty of skill to hammer anyone when they are given the space to do so. The common denominator in all of Brazil’s goals was that they were created through well placed passes or well struck shots in acres of space. Unlike Ecuador, who had the speed to close down on Brazil’s highly skilled attackers, Haiti was too slow and too disorganized to have any sort of impact on the match.

We also learned that Brazil is a legitimate attacking midfielder away from becoming a real threat to win this tournament. Even with the highly favorable result, Brazil left plenty of goals on the pitch. Their most spectacular failed chances were the result of the final pass going awry, leaving the target of said pass left to deal with the ball in an awkward position. A more patient passer with more precision on the ball is exactly what Brazil need to squeeze into the lineup. The trouble is, the answer to that problem is Neymar, who is currently getting himself ready for the Olympics and will not be a factor in Copa America.

Finally, we found out that Brazil are at their best when they are free flowing and without pressure. Against a difficult Ecuador side they were apprehensive to attack and unwilling to take any chances regardless of the potential reward. Against Haiti they came into the match knowing from the very beginning they were the better team and were going to win no matter what. They played expressively. They played freely. And, most of all, they were having fun. They looked like the Brazil sides of days long gone by. Too bad it was agaisnt lowly Haiti and not every match can be against such a weak opponent. Expect them to come out in much the same fashion against Peru as they look to seal their place in the quarterfinals atop Group B.

A finish atop the group would likely give Brazil a date with the United States in the quarterfinals, assuming Jurgen Klinsmann’s men take care of business against Paraguay on Saturday night. That’s a match they can likely win, as the USA has not had much of a history of success against high end South American opponents. That means that, even without Neymar, Brazil can find themselves in the semi-finals of this event if they can replicate this fun showing again. At that point, anything can happen. Although it is a stretch to consider Brazil a favorite over a hungry Argentina or a motivated Mexico and their home field advantage, they certainly cannot be counted out.

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