PRE – It’s a crossroads game for these two teams in Group E. Brazil will know that a win here would all but assure them of the group win with Costa Rica to play on the final day. They pounced on South Korean mistakes in the opener but will probably be looking for a little more here. Spain know that getting something out of this one will be crucial after the disappointing draw with Costa Rica in the opener. Defeat here would leave them in a must win against South Korea on the final day. All eyes will be on Marta vs Vero, but it might be the defenses which ultimately decide a winner here.
1’ – Fashion police update: Brazil are wearing a blue and white gradient shirt. Blech. Too nineties.
2’ – Fabiana picks up right where she left off in the last match, surging down the near touchline and winning a foul off of Landa.
7’ – First real chance falls to Spain. Putellas hoofs a long ball over the Brazilian backline, letting Pablos run onto it. She has the beating of Monica by some distance and is 1v1 against Luciana but screws her low shot wide.
8’ – Marta doing Marta things, as she latches onto a backheel before blasting past Torrejon out wide. Cross is too deep though, letting Tirapu claim.
11’ – The other Marta, Marta Corredera, is also making an impact early, as her cross dances just a bit ahead of Pablos, letting Luciana fall on it.
13’ – It’s end-to-end. Corredera whips a cross in, with Monica missing her header, and Rafaelle stabbing a foot out that deflects it behind for a corner. Almost an own goal. Brazil clear a pair of corners.
24’ – YELLOW CARD – Spain (Landa) – OK, it’s not so end-to-end now. Landa is booked for sliding in on Marta. She got the ball but also took a big chunk out of the Brazilian superstar.
29’ – Corredera already causing problems, as she’s brilliantly quick with the ball at her feet, getting endline before crossing to Losada. It may not have been the best option though, as the former WNY Flash player is triple teamed, with Brazil clearing.
37’ – Formiga is a goddamn machine out there. She dispossesses Jimenez on the far sideline before playing a long ball ahead of Cristiane, who shucks off Paredes before Torrejon puts a desperate foot in to knock it behind for a corner. Tirapu catches the corner with ease.
41’ – Formiga again. She drops a long ball over the backline into the box that is allowed to bounce as Tirapu hesitates off her line a bit. She misses it completely on her way out and is very, very lucky that Tamires fell. Corner kick for Brazil. Putellas heads away easily.
43’ – Tamires breaks a play up on her way to the endline and sends a cross towards Andressa Alves at the penalty spot, but she’d have to be ten feet tall to get to that one. They get a corner out of it, but Tirapu punches behind for another corner. The keeper comes out again after it’s crossed in, making an effective flying punch.
44’ – GOAL – Brazil (Andressa Alves) – Brazil finally makes their pressure count. Long chip over the top towards Alves, who pokes it past Tirapu, who came a long, long way to get not a touch on the ball. Jimenez does a great job to slide and hook it off the line…which matters naught, as it rolls right to Alves who scores. Probably would’ve helped if some of the other Spanish defenders had marked up on Alves after the initial poke.
HT – Brazil get a late arrow to the heart with that goal, and it’ll be interesting to see how Spain react out of the break. They had put together a handful of half-chances, but it’s tough remembering them forcing Luciana into a big save. For their part, Brazil haven’t exactly been dynamic and explosive, but they do have a 1-0 lead.
47’ – Losada gets nutmegged by Andressa Alves and shoulderblocks her down. They have a good laugh about it as the ref blows her whistle. The free kick bounces around a bit, but Brazil can’t put it away.
51’ – Close for Brazil, as Cristiane drops a ball over the top of the backline, but Landa hooks clear before Thaisa can latch onto it.
54’ – Spain have definitely lost focus since the interval. Tirapu takes a rotten touch on a backpass and has to resort to shanking a clearance into touch.
56’ – Brazil is really turning the screw now. Andressa is given way too much time to pick out a ball to Andressa Alves who whips a shot just wide and into the side netting. Cristiane has a bit of a moan about the midfielder not crossing into her path in the box.
60’ – SUB – Brazil go to the bench first, bringing off Thaisa, who’s had a somewhat muted performance, for Darlene.
63’ – Torrecilla chances her aim for a long shot that goes well wide. Spain having problems making much progress inside the eighteen at the moment.
67’ – Speaking of long-range shooting, Brazil force Tirapu into another big save, as Andressa cracks a shot from range that forces the Spanish keeper to tip over. Marta has a shot blocked off the corner.
70’ – SUB – Spain bring on Priscila Borja for Marta Corredera. It’s…a weird sub considering the Spanish winger had likely been the team’s best player on the day.
70’ – That could’ve been the chance for Spain. A long diagonal ball finds Borja in the corner, and she does well to keep it in play before whipping a beautiful cross into the area. Pablos is tightly marked by Monica by prods a boot out but can only put it wide. Spain won’t get many better chances than that today.
71’ – SUB – Pablos hasn’t had the best day for Spain, and she’s off now for Silvia Meseguer as Spain chases the equalizer.
74’ – There’s the flair. Cristiane dodges three tackles before squaring left for Marta, who has to chase it down. She embarrasses Borja with a ridiculous spin move, but the move breaks down shortly after.
75’ – Brazil continue to knock on the door, as Fabiana’s cross after an overlapping run has Tirapu flapping. Marta keeps it in play and squares for Formiga with Tirapu still on the ground, but the veteran somehow misses wide. Shocking.
77’ – SUB – Spain bring on Sonia Bermudez with their final change, taking off defensive midfielder Torrecilla. Gotta go for it late.
77’ – SUB – Fabiana comes up gimpy and, Poliana comes in for her in what looks like a straight swap.
80’ – Poliana makes an instant impact, chasing down a lost cause at the endline and crossing into the six. Tirapu fumbles a bit but falls on it.
87’ – Oh, Vero. Spain should be level, as Sonia slices open the Brazilian defense with ease, playing a slick ball through to Vero. The star player cuts it back inside while 1v1 with Luciana though and loses control, letting the ball run to the keeper under pressure.
89’ – SUB – Last change for Brazil, who bring on Raquel Fernandes for Cristiane, who hasn’t done much on the evening.
90’ + 1’ – Spain are beginning to put a little more pressure on the Brazilian goal, but they also aren’t forcing Luciana into any saves.
90’ + 2’ – Madness! Long free kick drops into the box and eventually to a lightly marked Vero. Shot is blocked as she screams for handball. Paredes shot goes through Luciana’s legs and off the post. Cleared, finally.
90’ + 2’ – YELLOW CARD – Brazil (Raquel Fernandes) – Unreal. Brazil should’ve put this away. They have a counter opportunity going 3v2 with Marta in space. She threads it through to Raquel Fernandes, who takes a terrible first touch, letting it run to Tirapu and is booked for sliding into the keeper in the process.
90’ + 4’ – Vero chases down a ball at the endline and aims a cross to Bermudez at the far post, but she can’t connect.
FT – Spain made a hell of a push late to try and find the equalizer, but their lack of nous in the box did them in in the end. Vero was kept in check just enough by Brazil, who defended well for much of the game and made the most of one of their best chances. They’ll not be satisfied with the 1-0 win but will still be happy with six points at this stage. The question now is if they can reach another gear when tougher opposition come calling.